Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Royalty Rip-off

Around the country, landowners are suing Chesapeake and other drillers for massive deductions from royalty checks.

Read the Fort Worth Weekly cover story for the scoop.

Royalty income from the first month’s production alone totaled more than $8,500.

But five months later, with the wells still producing the same amount of gas, his royalty check suddenly shrank by more than 80 percent, to just under $1,700, eaten away by what Chesapeake called “post-production costs.” In the following months, his checks dwindled even further, to almost nothing.

“In October 2013, I got a check that said my royalty was $6,000,” said Feusner, “but after one set of deductions it was reduced to $115; after another adjustment it dropped further. They wound up taking 99.3 percent of my royalty. I got $46.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our 5th Birthday present

Yesterday, April 10, was the 5th anniversary of the day we started this blog, with our primary motivation being flood control and water issues.

Click this link to watch the video about flooding in Fort Worth and residents joining together to save lives and property.

WHO is in the background of the video shots?

Mary Kelleher.

A Tarrant Regional Water District Board member meeting with residents about flooding? With the Flood Plain Administrator? We couldn't ask for a better present.

Thank you to The Historic Randol’s Mill Valley Alliance and Channel 11.

And to all our dear friends, here's to the next five!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Editorial Slap

If you thought Don Woodard was feisty, meet his son Blake.  A chip off the old block. Thank your lucky stars for men like these.

Imagine that, the FWST trying to stifle debate...they don't call it the FW Way for nothing----

BY BLAKE WOODARD
Special to the Star-Telegram

Progress requires innovation, and innovation requires vision, boldness, risk — and often a healthy debate.

In its April 3 editorial, the Star-Telegram tried to stifle that debate by complaining about “weak-kneed” Fort Worth City Council members and saying their resolve on water has weakened.

This insult was due to the City Council’s decision to wait just one week to consider an innovative proposal that would make one change to the city’s current drought plan.

This proposal, the Woodard Plan, would give residents a greater role in active conservation, provide flexibility for today’s 24/7 lifestyles, minimize the opportunity for cheating and give Mayor Betsy Price a citizen-friendly way to implement her goal of year-round water restrictions.

The Woodard Plan is anything but “structureless,” as the editorial branded it, but follows the structure of the current drought and conservation plans. Here is how it works:

• The current drought plan limits outdoor watering during Stage 1 restrictions to Tuesdays and Fridays for businesses, Wednesdays and Saturdays for even-numbered residences and Thursdays and Sundays for odd-numbered residences. Monday is the water Sabbath, when no one waters.

• The Woodard Plan adopts all of the provisions of the current drought plan and even the mayor’s proposed changes to Sec. 35-151 (“Lawn and Landscape Irrigation Restrictions”) that would make restrictions year-round. It has one change: Residents could water two or fewer of these days: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Could people cheat? They could, just as they break the current rules. But who is going to water their yard both Wednesday and Thursday or both Saturday and Sunday, given the price of water?

The Woodard Plan would be the rule year-round, so the mayor gets her year-round restrictions, but residents get some flexibility, so that they can use their conservation skills to save even more water. It’s a radical idea: A little less government equals more conservation.

There are two myths about water conservation in Fort Worth:

The first is that citizens support designated watering days. No one knows, because no one has asked. None of the Water Department’s or the Tarrant Regional Water District’s surveys asked residents whether they support designated watering days. Instead, the surveys merely asked whether residents support twice-a-week watering restrictions.

That’s a huge difference, and the agencies know it. Put me at the top of supporters of twice-a-week watering, yet I oppose designated days.

The agencies worded their questions to avoid mentioning designated days, as one city employee told me, because they felt that mentioning designated days would “lead” residents to overwhelmingly state they would prefer flexibility. Don’t like the answer? Then don’t ask the question.

The second myth is that last summer’s reduced water consumption is proof that designated days are working. That is a non sequitur.

Last summer’s reduced consumption was due in part to three things: A decent amount of rain scattered evenly throughout the summer, increased water rates that make watering your yard an expensive act, and a citizenry that has gotten the conservation message loud and clear.

The TRWD and the Water Department have done an outstanding job communicating the need for conservation.

Designated watering days are not a “proven water conservation plan,” as the Star-Telegram editorial declared. The summers of 2011, 2012 and 2013 provide a very ambiguous assessment of designated days.

There is plenty of room to compromise in implementing the Woodard Plan. But if we are going to ask our citizens to sacrifice even when the lakes are overflowing, shouldn’t we show them the tiniest bit of trust and give them a small role in conservation?

Blake Woodard is a Fort Worth resident who has followed water issues closely for the past two years. blake@woodardcompanies.com

Shame on them!

From Melissa McDougall

Tonight, I urge you all to at least watch the city council meeting in action. The particular item of interest on the agenda is the approval of the permanent twice a week water restriction ordinance. It is a controversial topic that last week caused a division amongst councilpersons. I won't say that you will be shocked tonight by what you see but, you will see a little about my concerns at the TRWD in action and that is lack of transparency in government, and obvious strong a...rming IMO by someone outside of city hall. Could it be the TRWD, the Chamber of Commerce, or what?

Last week, TRWD Director Mary Kelleher and myself attended the Council mtg. and to her surprise, there was three of her five member Board of Directors from the TRWD. Mary was there as a concerned citizen. The other three were there to support the passing of the permanent water restrictions. The chairman of her board spoke in front of council supporting the ordinance change. While speaking he introduced his fellow board members BUT, HE DID NOT INTRODUCE MARY KELLEHER! Mary was elected by the people of Fort Worth that are sick and tired of the lack of transparency! I was beside myself and very obviously did my SHAME, SHAME FINGERS at him as he departed the podium. The blatant disrespect they have for a fellow director. UNBELIEVABLE! Why you may ask? Because she is forcing ethics and transparency and they don't like it!

Here's my questions....

TRWD directors get paid $150 per appearance up to a annual maximum. Are the directors that showed up last Tuesday going to expect their $150 each although only one spoke? Was it necessary for all three to be there? And how many will show up tonight? Mary does not expect a payout, she was there as a concerned citizen.

When did the three TRWD directors discuss attending the council meeting without Mary Kelleher present? Three of five members discussing and making decisions is a quorum. A public notice should have been posted so that the public could attend the "open meeting"! IT'S THE LAW!!!! Isn't this one of the hot topics we are all furious about? Here is perfect example and proof that decisions are being made BEHIND CLOSED DOORS! They made the decision to attend council and spoke as if the TRWD directors all agreed to support the cities new ordinance WITHOUT Mary Kelleher present and without a PUBLIC MEETING!

SHAME ON THEM!!!

Watch the council mtg tonight! Go to the city website and click on the live stream of the council meeting. See for yourself what we've been talking about!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Don't let Rick Perry hold your lungs Hostage

A new anti-smog plan for DFW is being written right now...

By the same officials in Austin who don't believe that smog is bad for you.

This month we need your help to stage a Citizens Intervention or we'll continue to breathe what you see in the picture.

THIS SUNDAY - FIND OUT WHY IT MATTERS

3-5 pm
Citizens' Information and Strategy Meeting for the new DFW Air Plan Hosted by State Rep. Lon Burnam and Downwinders at Risk

Texas Campaign for the Environment Offices
3303 Lee Parkway #402 * Dallas, TX 75219
MAP

THURSDAY, APRIL 17th - OCCUPY THE PROCESS

10am to 1pm
Official local committee meeting for DFW anti-smog plan

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC - ASK QUESTIONS AND MAKE COMMENTS

Special Presentation on Barnett Shale Gas Emissions on DFW Smog by UNT Researchers

North Central Texas Council of Governments HQ
616 Six Flags Drive, Arlington
MAP

Have Asthma?
Live Next to a Gas Site?
Downwind of A Cement Plant?
Want More Renewable Energy?
Old Coal Plants Shut?

Just Concerned About What's in that Layer of Haze on the Horizon?

No Matter Your Cause, You Have a Stake in Building a Better DFW Anti-Smog Plan.

Because It's Your Lungs,

NOT Rick Perry's.

Beginning this month, things get serious about the new DFW anti-smog plan.

While the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is moving ahead with a scheme that avoids new pollution controls,  local officials are more skeptical of that approach and and are talking about additional "control measures" on sources of air pollution like cars, power plants, the gas industry, and cement kilns.

Despite three state air plans over 15 years, DFW has yet to meet the 1997 federal smog standard of 85 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone.

Now, even as we're still trying to meet an almost 20-year smog standard, a new standard of 75 ppb is being enforced across the country for the first time. The deadline for meeting it is 2018. The plan for how to meet it must be turned into EPA by 2015 for a three year implementation.

That plan is what's being written now. And you can help make it much better.

THE MYTH OF IMPROVING AIR QUALITY

In 2009, DFW's three year running average for smog pollution was 86 ppb of ozone. Last year it was 87ppb. Is that progress to you? The state says it is.

The fact is that after a decade of steadily falling smog levels, that decline has stalled over the last five years.

Is it merely coincidence that those five years correspond to the Barnett Shale gas play maturing in the middle of DFW? Or the development of gas fields to the Southeast of us? If it's not new gas emissions, what's causing this stagnation in progress? The state says it doesn't know. But the TCEQ is sure that it can get smog levels down without new pollution controls on any industry - including gas and oil.

Just like it was sure in 2011, when the state proposed its last plan without any new  industry controls and guaranteed we'd be enjoying record-low smog levels by 2013. Instead, smog levels actually rose.

The reality is that Austin is trying to avoid any new controls at all while Rick Perry is running for President.

Our lungs are being held hostage by Governor Perry's political ambitions.

That's why we need your help.

THE TCEQ RATIONALE FOR INACTION

TCEQ says that a new federal gasoline mix with lower sulfur content will make car exhaust so much cleaner that no additional measures will be necessary to meet the new 75 ppb smog standard by the deadline of 2018. It says it's computer program tells it so.

But that new mix won't be on the market until 2017, impacting only one summer out of three that'll be used by EPA to give us our running average.

Even then, to reach the new goal of no more than 75 ppb of ozone by 2018, DFW smog levels would have to drop by double digits in just four years. That's never happened before. And many of us don't believe it has any chance of happening without reducing pollution from the gas industry, the Midlothian cement plants, and other large sources.

We need to expose the TCEQ's junk science and make sure safe and legal air for six million people is more important than Rick Perry's presidential ambitions.

 A CHANCE TO REDUCE POLLUTION FROM ALL SOURCES

The most successful air plan DFW ever had was in 2007, when coal plants, cement plants, vehicles and other sources of air pollution were addressed through new control measures.

That was the last time we had a comprehensive approach. And we almost met the 1997 85 ppb standard.

This new plan offers an opportunity to do the same -  if citizens can get organized.

The DFW air plan is the "biggest fracking fight that isn't being fought" with a chance to seek region-wide pollution controls on the gas industry.

It's a chance to bring state-of-the-art pollution controls to the Midlothian cement plants and East Texas coal plants.

It's a chance to commit North Texas to more renewable energy, mass transit, and cleaner technologies of all kinds.

But first you have to show up.

Please come to the strategy meeting this Sunday in Dallas to learn more about this clean air plan and what's being done to improve it.

Then on April 17th, come to the next official meeting of the DFW clean air plan in Arlington to listen and comment on discussions about local air quality.

These meetings are open to the public and public participation. Tell officials you want MORE pollution controls on ALL sources.

Don't let Rick Perry hold your lungs hostage.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What ethics??

This is Texas.

And here the Texas Ethics Commission doesn't care about the constitution.

Yeah, we had to read that sentence twice too.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Denton on the map

Two things of note happened in Denton last night.

One was the intense storms that repeatedly slammed them for hours.

The other was the screening for Gasland 2.

Even Lon Burnam braved the hail and tornadoes to make it out.

If you haven't seen Gasland, 1 or 2, you don't know what you're missing.

Seriously. You have no idea.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Got Water?

The Fort Worth City Council is scheduled to approve a revised Drought Contingency Plan Tuesday night, April 1, at the 7:00 PM City Council Meeting.  The plan will make the current inflexible designated watering day restrictions year-round, in addition to making other immediate and future changes to your interior and exterior water use.  Some friends stopped by my office Saturday with a document they had to sign just to add a bathroom in their California home.  In California, you must get a permit from the local water agency to add any water fixture, even a toilet, and to get the permit you must modify the deed on your house to bind yourself and any future purchasers to the water agency’s water ordinances.  It’s extreme government control.  I think that is where Fort Worth is heading and will be in 20 years.

Government does not have to be this heavy-handed to promote water conservation.  There is a better way.  I will speak against the part of the Drought Contingency Plan that makes the current restrictions year-round and recommend the Council postpone the vote to consider the Woodard Plan, which is attached.  I only get three minutes unless 9 others agree to show up and actually do show up. They must arrive before the meeting starts at 7:00 and stay until after the issue is decided.  To be safe, they should plan on being at the meeting until 10PM.

Please let me know if you or family members will definitely commit to attending Tuesday night’s meeting.  If they will come, please give me their names and e-mail address.  I must enter their name in my registration on the city’s website, and I would like to do that by 7PM Monday night.  Even if you decide to show up at the last minute, I will appreciate your attendance and support.

Regards,
Blake Woodard

Friday, March 28, 2014

Don't be a Dud!

Come to the event tonight and hear from local candidates!  Ask questions!  Get educated!  Hear what "the media" doesn't want you to hear!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Disposal wells in Texas


WHERE are they?  Is there one near YOU?

Check it out here.