Tonight, a group of Lewisville residents held an organizational meeting to deal with proposed natural gas drilling near their homes. Over 20 residents showed up for the initial meeting, but members say they expect more.
The group, which calls itself Lewisville Neighbors for Responsible Urban Drilling (LNRUD) consists mainly of residents immediately surrounding the proposed well site for Titan's Ingram Unit, on the Southeast corner of Corporate Drive and Valley Parkway. LNRUD has no formal leadership at this point, but is still in the process of organizing.
Members are concerned about a variety of issues surrounding natural gas production, including air and water contamination as well as noise and reduction of property values. Lewisville Resident Carol Tomkovich, the former owner of the property on which the well may be drilled, brought a map to show that depending on the definition of a city park, it may not be possible to drill on the property without a variance to the 500 foot setback required from protected uses such as homes and parks.
This group is not affiliated with Central Park Area Neighbors Association (CPANA), which had organized in 2008 to deal with financial and contractual issues related to the drilling, and that eventually negotiated a deal with some environmental and contractual concessions. Most of the members of LNRUD have not leased their mineral rights.
Members like Lewisville resident Ron Aljoe were most disappointed with a recent decision by the Lewisville City Council not to extend a brief suspension of permits while city staff review the oil and gas ordinance with respect to recent developments around the Barnett Shale. Since the Council made its vote, the Williams company has accelerated 22 permits for wells in Southern Lewisville, though none of those serve LNRUD's neighborhood. Once an operator has a permit, they operate under the rules in effect at that time, so in this way, Williams will avoid having to abide by any changes to the ordinance.
The group intends to reach out the the Council and emphasize the need for more protections in the ordinance for safety and the peaceful enjoyment of their property.
Map of area:
View Lewisville Gas Wells in a larger map
We'll keep you updated as we learn more.
- History and Status of Gas Drilling in Lewisville
Full Disclosure: The author of this story is a board member for Central Park Area Neighbors Association, which no official position on or affiliation with LNRUD.