But a lack of quorum prevented the Council from even tabling the item. Under the Lewisville City Charter, any action of the Council requires three Council members to vote affirmatively, regardless of vacancies, abstentions, or absences. In the absence of the three votes, no action can be taken. In the case of tonight's vote, both Rudy Durham and newly-elected Leroy Vaughn abstained due to the appearance of a conflict of interest, even though under state law, the conflict didn't require them to. Both Vaughn and Durham have gas leases on their properties which are in the same area to be served by the Ingram pad site, though neither will be served by the two wells currently being proposed. The amount of possible gain for the two falls below the threshold for a conflict.
Councilman David Thornhill was absent due to a back injury, leaving only John Gorena and TJ Gilmore to vote. The Mayor was present, but can only vote in the case of a tie.
So the agenda item rolls over to the next scheduled meeting on August 1st. At that time, if Thornhill is able to attend, the item can be tabled until August 15th. If Thornhill is not back, the item will automatically roll over to the August 15th meeting.
On the agenda for Monday night's Lewisville City Council meeting is a request by Titan Operating, LLC for the Council to grant permission for its Ingram site wells to be nearer than 500 feet from City property. The action Monday night, if approved, would complete Titan's application process and allow the Council to hold a public hearing regarding their permits.
The Ingram site, as it's being called, is located on the Southeast corner of Valley Parkway and Corporate Drive. The location of the wells would be 402 feet from Memorial Park, which is a protected use under the City's Gas Drilling Ordinance. Under the ordinance, all property owners within 500 feet must give their consent. A simple majority of 3 Council members would be required to approve the consent.
In the City Council agenda for Monday night's meeting, city staff recommend denying the permission for the Ingram tract, but do not provide any rationale. However, the site is surrounded on three sides with homes, and the homeowners there generally oppose this location for the well.
On Monday night, July 11th, the Lewisville City Council will consider two gas well permits for a site located at 290 West Southwest Parkway, known as the B&H NE-1H and SE-1H wells, requested by Titan Operating, LLC. The site is about 1,500 feet up-wind from Lewisville Elementary School. Here's the site on a map:
Based on the leased areas to be drained, the site could eventually hold 10 - 20 wells and the associated compressor and treatment equipment.
Here are the administrative comments listed in the Council Agenda for Monday night's meeting:
On December 17, 2010, Titan Operating Corporation submitted an application to drill and operate two natural gas wells known as B & H NE-1H and SE-1H on a 1.8 acre tract of land located at 290 W Southwest Parkway. Staff and Titan Operating have worked diligently to address and satisfy all the requirements of the Oil and Gas Ordinance that was in force at the time of the submittal. The permit application was deemed complete by City staff and the City Manager on June 2, 2011 as meeting and/or exceeding the minimum requirements of the Ordinance. The Oil and Gas Ordinance requires a Public Hearing and three quarters of City Council approval as the well bores and permanent equipment that could pose a health or safety risk are located within 300 to 500 feet from a protected use.
Based on a recent gas lease and spud fee agreement with Titan, the City of Lewisville Local Government Corporation stands to earn two spud fees totaling $100,000 when the two wells are drilled. The SE-1h well taps the gas under Central Park, which the City also recently leased, so the LGC would also earn royalties on that. The site would also serve wells that would drain the gas under Councilman John Gorena's residence. Like many others, he leased his mineral rights to Cherokee Horn, which conveyed them to Titan. We're not clear at this point whether Gorena will be required to recuse himself from this vote.
As we've written previously, the Central Park Area Neighbors Association is undergoing a year-long study of air quality in Southern Lewisville in anticipation of natural gas well development in the area. The group hopes to get a good benchmark of where the air quality is before drilling, so that any changes after drilling can be noted. The tests attached are for volatile organic compounds.
Nothing in the results appeared to exceed any air monitoring comparison values. More commentary will be provided at the end of the study, or if something comes up abnormal.
Benzene levels for both boxes came in well below TCEQ long-term effects screening levels (ESLs).
Total levels of VOCs showed to be about twice as high at the B&H site (Box 99 - 1.19 ppb) than the Ingram site (Box 210 - .55 ppb), which is expected since the B&H site is closer to a fuel station, and busy S.H. 121 Business. This variance in background levels is part of the reason CPANA is conducting baseline air monitoring.
CPANA has increased the testing to encompass more testing locations, and will soon begin testing for reduced sulfur compounds in the air.
CPANA is looking for another location near the proposed B&H well site off Southwest Parkway between Misty Ln. and S.H. 121 Business. Contact email@example.com if you can volunteer your property.
Flower Mound's Oil and Gas Advisory Board has proposed ordinance changes that would set a 1,500 buffer zone between drilling sites and homes, churches, schools, parks, etc. If passed, only a few locations in the rural western part of town would be open to new gas drilling / production.
Other proposals from the Board include:
- repealing zoning-related provisions that allow centralized natual gas facilites to be built through the specific use permitting process,
- requiring operators to put tracing additives in fracking fluids, and
- mandating public notice of hydraulic fracturing.
These changes are scheduled to be considered by the Town council on July 18, 2011.
After receiving a number of questions about the leasing of the City’s mineral rights to Titan, I regret now that I was not watching the agendas for all city meetings closer, because this decision came and went on May 2nd, and I only just learned about it. But to try and answer some questions the best I can, I have prepared this information.
To begin with, this is far from the final blow, but I would still consider it a blow nonetheless. Let’s start by laying out some foundation. The whole “Local Government Corporation” (LGC) concept seems simple at first glance, but I have yet to fully understand all of its implications. As I understand them, LGC’s are primarily created to insulate a city from lawsuits connected with activities that are specific to development.
In Lewisville’s case, ours was created 2005 to address mineral rights contracts and mineral exploration on large unused tracts of land primarily associated with the purchase of Railroad Park. At that time, under Transportation Code regulations, the city transferred its mineral rights to the newly-formed LGC to negotiate.
Those parcels did not necessarily convey full mineral rights, but at least some mineral rights were there to consider. The issue came to a head when a company called Tracker Holdings expressed interest in leasing the minerals on the east side in that general area. After signing a lease in August 2005, Tracker’s interests were transferred to Chesapeake’s hands in August 2007. Chesapeake then wanted to drill several wells in the Railroad Park area.
The first was the Duwe well, finally drilled in 2009. Ironically, that first well did not drill into any city leases. It would have been the additional wells at Duve that could have drilled city property, but they never happened, and the single non-producing Duwe well was shut in.
In a Memorandum of Lease signed May 4th and filed with Denton County on May 13th of this year, the Lewisville Local Government Corporation leased approximately 121 acres of the City's mineral rights to Titan Operating, LLC. The duration of the lease is two years, though that would extend in perpetuity once a site is drilled and producing.
This action would presumably end the City's protest of Titan's rule 37 spacing exemption request for the Ingram wells in Southern Lewisville.
Today I spoke with Eric Ferris, Director of Community Development for the City of Lewisville, and Fire Marshal Tim Ippolito, who both wanted to stress that the decision to lease the minerals was separate from any permit approvals, as far as they are concerned. The Local Government Corporation was acting in the interest of protecting city lands from having the minerals drained without compensation in the event that permits are granted, but doesn't preclude the City Council from denying one or more permits.
On June 20th, the City Council will hold a hearing on the permit for the 4th well at Titan's Prologis site in Northern Lewisville. On July 11th, Titan's B&H wells off Southwest Pkwy, between 121 and Misty Ln will come up for a hearing, which must pass with a 3/4ths majority of the Council, due to the distance to a protected use falling in the 300 - 500 foot category.
Titan's Ingram drill site at the corner of Corporate and Valley Parkway is nearly done with staff review, and faces two hurdles before it can be approved:
1. Because the City is the owner of property falling within 500 feet, the City Council must give consent for the wells to be within the 500 foot setback from a park. This would require a simple majority of the Council.
2. Because there is a protected use (park) within 500 feet, the site will require a 3/4ths majority vote of the Council in order to pass. Effectively, this means a 4:1 or better vote of a full council, once Place 1 is seated, or if someone is absent, 3:1 would allow it to pass. A 2:2 tie with Mayor breaking the tie would not be sufficient to pass, since it would only be 3/5ths.
Last night, in a 3 - 1 vote, the Lewisville City Council passed a resolution calling on TCEQ to hold the natural gas industry in North Texas to their fair share of emissions cuts required to bring North Texas into compliance with ozone standards under the Clean Air Act.
Emissions of NOx and VOCs react at ground level to form ozone, which is hazardous to human health, and contributes to asthma and other respiratory problems.
The resolution was proposed by newly-elected Councilman TJ Gilmore, and was opposed by his former rival Councilman John Gorena, who would apparently prefer that you and I put up with bans on gas-powered lawn equipment or charcoal lighter fluid use, so that the natural gas industry can pollute unimpeded.
When Williams released the frack job report for their ACE 13H well earlier this month, the first version showed that it used 214 million gallons of water on that well. It turned out that number was a math mistake, since they had started out with gallons and multiplied by 42 to convert from barrels to gallons.
At any rate, when I saw that number at first, after I picked up my jaw off the floor, I put in a request to the City of Lewisville to get a copy of their water consumption.
A couple of notes: I think the Spinks Rd. location is where the company pumped city water into a pond for use in fracking. Williams reported using pond water for the frack job, but so far as of May 12th, had used nearly 14 million gallons of city water in drilling and completing its wells in Southern Lewisville. Also, there is no S.Valley and Duncan. I suspect that may be the ACE Ln. Location.