Tonight Flower Mound Town Council passed drilling and pipeline ordinances (ordinance) that are surely the strongest in the Barnett Shale and likely the strongest in the nation.
The majority of the citizens who spoke were for passage of the ordinance. One citizen was against the ordinance until they brought in “experts” like the Texas Railroad Commission (cough). Other citizens expressed regret that Vapor Recovery Units (VRU) were not mandatory. I totally get it about the VRUs. VRUs are like the Talenti Gelato under the dark chocolate syrup under the cherry. People who live in the Gas Patch lust for them.
The tough thing about an ordinance is it’s not worth much if it won’t hold up in court when the Big Gas Mafia sues. So far, Flower Mound has successfully defended all lawsuits, foreign or domestic...
After more than a year of public input and review process, the Flower Mound Town Council adopted two new ordinances designed to provide additional public health, safety, and welfare protections to the community on Monday, July 18.
The new Oil and Gas Well Ordinance and the new Pipeline Ordinance become effective upon signature and publication. Proposed changes to the ordinances resulted from the extensive work of a volunteer Oil and Gas Advisory Board, public hearings, expert testimony, legal review, and Town Council input. The updated Oil and Gas Well Ordinance differs from its prior counterpart in several significant categories including setbacks and variances, monitoring requirements, emergency plans, and administrative approvals.
Setbacks have been increased from 500’ to 1,500’ for residences with mineral interests and from 1,000' to 1,500' for residences without mineral interests. The set back for schools, religious institutions, public parks, hospitals, and water wells increased from 1,000’ to 1,500’, and from 500’ to 750’ for property lines, floodplains, and public roads or rights-of-ways. Wells qualifying for administrative approval must now undergo a public review process with notification sent to nearby property owners.
Monitoring requirements include water well testing, pre-and post-drilling soil sampling, continued air quality monitoring by the Town, and the establishment of daytime and nighttime noise levels with mitigation procedures for drilling, fracking, and production operations. In addition, emergency plans must now include provisions for residential evacuation and the installation of an audible alarm to signal drops in pressure, the release of gas, or a fire.
Flower Mound’s new Pipeline Ordinance also includes several significant changes from the prior version. The Specific Use Permit process for Centralized Facilities was repealed in its entirety, and a zoning amendment is now required if a centralized facility is proposed. Zoning Amendments require review by and public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Town Council.
If a zoning amendment is approved, thereafter a specific use permit is required, with review and public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council. Flower Mound’s moratorium related to the submission of new gas well permits will be terminated July 29. All subsequent applications will be subject to the new ordinances.