Based on information obtained from the Texas Railroad Commission, we have learned that Chesapeake Operating, Co. has obtained a permit to drill a horizontal well in Eastern Lewisville, near the landfill residents have dubbed “Mount Lewisville”. The site, which is called “Duwe” after one of the landowners, is shown in the map below:
The location of the Duwe site is significant because residents in Southern Lewisville who have received offers for their mineral rights to natural gas have in some cases been told that their land is too far East. Land broker Cherokee Horn told us that part of the reason for their low offers is the risk of drilling a “dry hole”. Despite huge success rates in Barnett Shale drilling, the concern in Lewisville relates to a geologic formation called the “Muenster Arch”:
The Muenster Arch marks an ancient fault starting somewhere in Denton County and stretching north. The Barnett Shale is thought to come to a dead stop at the arch, so as the landmen explain, the further East in Denton County, the greater the risk of getting into the Arch, or some of the twisted rock near the arch. Conventional wisdom holds that the Muenster Arch runs approximately along the I-35E corridor.
A Dallas judge’s civil court ruling raises questions about millions of dollars in fines collected from Texas motorists caught on camera running red lights.
According to state District Judge Craig Smith, ACS State and Local Solutions violated the Texas Occupations Code, which states that unless a person holds a license as an investigations company, it has no authority to monitor intersections.
Judge Smith’s opinion late last month has led to two federal class-action lawsuits involving red-light camera companies – Redflex Traffic Systems and American Traffic Solutions. Both are based in Arizona, and neither is licensed in Texas.
According to their Web sites, these companies hold contracts in about three dozen North Texas cities, including Allen, Arlington, Balch Springs, Bedford, Burleson, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Coppell, Denton, Duncanville, Farmers Branch, Fort Worth, Frisco, Grand Prairie, Haltom City, Hurst, Irving, Lancaster, Lewisville, McKinney, Mesquite, North Richland Hills, Plano, Richardson, Richland Hills, Roanoke, Southlake and University Park.
At Monday night's Lewisville City Council meeting, the council voted 3/2 to approve a resolution asking the Texas Legislature to give cities more authority to regulate some aspects of intrastate midstream gas pipelines. [Full Text of Resolution]
Lewisville becomes the latest in a growing list of North Texas cities in the Barnett Shale have passed the resolution, which began with Mayor Calvin Tillman of the tiny Denton County town of Dish, TX. Dish then sent the resolution to other North Texas cities this summer. A few weeks ago, the issue became a hot topic in the blogosphere, thanks to activists like TXsharon getting coverage on Texas Kaos, among others.
Under current Texas law, pipeline companies have the power of eminent domain, and have been known to abuse it. Cities currently have no authority to regulate the location of pipelines with respect to homes and schools, or to require routes that do not unnecessarily split up property, making it permanently unable to be developed.
Members of CPANA and another Lewisville group, the Summit Area Neighbors Association (SANA) started a letter-writing campaign just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, collecting a good number of letters and emails for the Council and Mayor Gene Carey.
Members of both groups also addressed letters to State Representatives Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) and Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) as well as State Senators Chris Harris (R-Arlington) and Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville). CPANA board members will be making appointments in the next couple of weeks to meet with these officials and deliver some of the letters.
Councilmen Tierney, Thornhill, and Ueckert voted for the resolution, with Councilmen Watts and Durham voting against. Watts stated that there was between "slim and no chance of the legislature taking action, and slim just left the station". Durham didn't offer much explanation at the council meeting, but spoke with MamaSk8z today, and explained that although he does see a problem with duplicative pipelines, he is concerned about the impact to the property rights of mineral owners if a city were to take the power too far and ban pipelines. Durham also noted that language in the resolution indicated these pipeline companies were not acting as public utilities, and he disagreed with that assertion.
For what it's worth, I share Durham's concerns about cities then abusing their power of regulation, but I have to trust that our Texas Legislature would put safeguards in place. Almost any change to the law at this point would help protect land owners. Because pipeline companies are private businesses, they are only obligated to serve their shareholders. Whenever eminent domain is involved, we need to have elected officials who are beholden to their constituents to weigh in on whether it serves the public good.
We're not talking about letting cities totally ban pipelines within their city limits, but rather letting them exercise some control over the selection of alignments from among multiple economically viable choices. The law could be written for instance in such a way that cities cannot deny all viable routes between a well site and the nearest public pipeline or the nearest state highway or F.M. road, whichever is closer.
As of tonight, no bills related to pipeline regulation had been filed in either the House or the Senate. If legislation is not passed in the 2009 session, then the next opportunity would be in 2011.
As we reported back in May, Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) has paid his daughter $625,000 in "salary" from his campaign account, while simultaneously claiming the 37 year old as his dependent to receive state-paid health insurance.
Today we learn that an official ethics complaint has been filed against Craddick.
I just finally watched my Tivo'd version of the Sarah Silverman program, where she lost her house key and was "homeless". She did her own modern version of the old classic "Big Rock Candy Mountain". Pretty funny, I thought. As long as you don't think too hard about what it really means to be homeless. (Music starts at 1:38)
Well, we hope you had a good Thanksgiving. This year, we drove down to Georgetown and stayed for a couple of days visiting my mom. Then yesterday, we drove to China Spring to visit my dad.
The kids made out like bandits yesterday with some early gifts from my dad. Among them, a new computer for the family to use. You see, despite having laptops and servers in the house, we didn't have any computer suitable for the kids to use. And I was just getting tired of them begging to use my laptop all the time.
Terrorism in Mumbai I'm really saddened by the tragic acts of terrorism in India of the past few days. I don't look at it in terms of how many Americans were hurt. I look at this as an offense against humanity. We have to continue to hunt down these beasts.
Pipeline Resolution As you might know, I'm a member of the board of CPANA, our neighborhood group formed to deal with proposed gas drilling here. We're supporting reform of eminent domain powers for oil and gas pipeline utilities. We have a letter-writing campaign, and I hope you'll help us. The Lewisville City Council is set to vote on a resolution that we support on Monday night at 7 PM.
Painting the TV Screen Last week, I painted the screen of my 60 inch television. No, I'm not crazy. Our television in the bedroom is a projection TV, and we use the blank wall opposite our bed to view it. The wall had gotten dingy and had nail holes and children's drawings on it. It does seem to make the screen look a lot better. Now I just need to reinstall the surround-sound.
Citizen's Police Academy I'll graduate from Lewisville's Citizens Police Academy on Thursday night. Last week's final week of training was intense. We actually played the part of police officers in a number of various every-day scenarios, and learned just how difficult it can be to make those split-second decisions. In one scenario, my partner and I were to clear a darkened floor of a building, so we went in with flashlights and guns drawn. As we cleared a boiler room, neither of us thought to look UP! That was the fatal mistake, and I got shot by this guy with an AR-15. Also, I ducked behind a prisoner I was handcuffing when her passenger started shooting at me on a traffic stop. There's a really embarrassing picture of that, and I'll post it when I get a copy.
Long story short, I don't think I would want to have to be a police officer. But if I did, I think training would be of utmost importance.
Prop. 8 blacklist Texas Cloverleaf thinks that the big-money supporters of California's anti-gay Proposition 8, should pay a price in their businesses. They're certainly free to use their money to support whatever they want, but we are all free to boycott their products and services.
Cinemark Theaters Highland Homes Apple Orthodontix and others are listed here