Monday, January 31, 2011

Water rising, WHO pays?

YOU do, of course.

Read about it in the Colleyville Courier.

We noticed no mention of the Tarrant Regional Water District.  WHY is that?

Most area cities are paying more for water and wastewater treatment, and that means residents will likely see higher water bills.

North Richland Hills recently announced that its residents will see an average increase of $2.21 per month to cover the higher rates charged by the Trinity River Authority and Fort Worth, the city's suppliers. North Richland Hills passed along the higher charges to residents.

Westlake increased its rates starting Jan. 1, citing a 10 percent increase in costs. Fort Worth residents also saw their rates go up. Euless raised its rates Oct. 1 for users of more than 2,000 gallons per month.

By then, the Trinity River Authority is projecting that the price for water will be 26 cents per 1,000 gallons higher than today and the cost of sending back wastewater will be 62 cents per 1,000 gallons higher.

The authority has said that it is facing higher costs in obtaining raw water and meeting state and federal regulations and that it needs updated facilities to treat and transport water and wastewater. The area's population growth is increasing those needs, officials said.

All member cities of the authority will pay a combined $2.2 million more for water and sewer services this year than last year, said Michelle Clark, Trinity River Authority spokeswoman. "A little over $1 million of that cost increase is for raw water," she said. "About $1.3 million is for debt service."

"Water will become a scarce resource," he said. "We need to have water conservation, water management to keep those increases down."

What the Hell?

Southlake Planning and Zoning Commission is asking just that.  Read about the latest gas drilling bait and switch drama playing out there in the Southlake Journal.  And be there Tuesday for the City Council vote, it could be fun.

The City Council could vote Tuesday on whether to authorize the city's first gas wells, despite objections from some Planning and Zoning Commission members who voted against the application.

But some residents, including planning and zoning commissioners, say the city is ignoring the will of the commission by not requiring a supermajority vote, or six of the seven council members. Typically, when the commission denies a request, a supermajority is required for approval.

A city attorney's ruling later that day said that because the commission didn't follow up that vote with a recommendation to deny the permit, XTO Energy could proceed to the council without a commission recommendation. Attorney Tim Sralla advised City Manager Shana Yelverton that a supermajority would not be needed.

That surprised many commissioners, who said their intent was to deny the application, according to e-mails obtained through the Public Information Act by residents who live near the drilling site in the Chapel Downs subdivision. One of the residents forwarded the e-mails to the Star-Telegram.

Commissioner Jim Hamel, in a Nov. 20 e-mail to city officials, said Sralla's opinion is "incorrect on several fronts." He also wrote that he and other commissioners were never told that a specific motion to deny was needed. "If we needed a separate denial to make a legally operative recommendation, it seems to me that should have been made clear to us long before now," Hamel wrote, calling Sralla's conclusion "simply absurd." Last week, Hamel said he stands by those statements.

However, Ken Baker, the city's planning director, told Yelverton in a text message that he believed that Sralla's opinion was factual. "I cannot read the commissioners' minds and thus do not know of their intentions," he wrote.

Bet he can read their minds now...

Welcome to Cowtown

Read about the streets shut down in downtown Fort Worth in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

A 6-inch line broke at the intersection of East 3rd and Calhoun streets, said Mary Gugliuzza, Fort Worth Water Department public education coordinator.

Safety first?

WHO's next?

Read about the California pipeline explosion here.

Federal investigators' findings in the San Bruno pipeline explosion probe suggest that thousands of miles of long-buried and untested natural gas pipelines across the United States are at far greater risk of failure than the industry and government regulators have long maintained, experts say.

"It's a wake-up call," Robert Eiber, a pipeline integrity expert with 50 years of experience in the industry, said of the implications of the National Transportation Safety Board's metallurgical analysis of the line that exploded Sept. 9.

"They need to make sure they don't have a duplicate situation someplace else," Eiber said. "If it has not been tested, you need to test it."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just connect the dots to the Texas Century

A letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram caught our eye this morning.

Connect the dots

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is investigating how states can declare bankruptcy and flee their financial obligations instead of raising taxes.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry declares that the next 100 years will be the "Texas Century."

Just connect the dots.

-- Catherine Clyde, Fort Worth

Wastewater spill, it all runs downhill...

Polluted wastewater from a Quicksilver pipeline near Granbury. Quicksilver euphemistically called the 60 barrels of chemically contaminated well fracking fluid "salty produced water."

Excerpt from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article...

"The Texas Railroad Commission said Wednesday that it continues to monitor the cleanup of polluted wastewater that spilled from a small pipeline serving a Quicksilver Resources natural gas production site five miles south of Granbury.

Quicksilver estimated that 60 barrels of salty "produced water," including less than a barrel of oil, leaked from the pipeline, which carries wastewater from wells to a saltwater injection well, where it is pumped underground. Produced water comes up through a wellbore along with natural gas."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Congrats to Josh Fox & GASLAND

GASLAND the Movie has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category.

Congratulations to Josh Fox.

The Gasland Oscar nomination did not bring any congratulations from Natural Gas industry spokespeople. Quite the contrary....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Entire town evacuated

Due to leaking gas.

Read about it on

WHO's in charge?

The Cities or the Industry?  What is more important, citizens safety or making a buck?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an article about gas drilling in Hurst, Bedford, Southlake.  YOU can't afford to miss it.  Read what the cities have to say about the tactics used.

Grand Prairie and Southlake both took part in moratoriums.  Do YOU think they all should?

So, WHO's the next target?  We hear it's Haltom City.  Be there, tonight.

"I had people come up to me and say, 'Man, what did you all do to tick off Chesapeake?'" said Bedford Mayor Jim Story, who attended the meeting and took issue with some of Wilson's remarks.

Both Queen and Story said they are unclear about what Chesapeake wants from the city.

"To my knowledge, Chesapeake has not come to us for anything. Not to talk about the setback or the ordinance," Story said. "To my knowledge, there has been no communication at all."

"While we have fulfilled all requirements to obtain the necessary permit, delays caused by the City still prevent the permit from being approved," one version of the letter reads. It encourages mineral-rights owners to urge council members to approve the applications.

Assistant City Manager Jeff Jones said Chesapeake's applications were held up because they were incomplete.

The week before last, the Southlake City Council implemented a 180-day drilling moratorium as officials tweak the drilling ordinance, last addressed in 2008. No drilling has been approved in the city, though two requests from XTO are pending, city Planning Director Ken Baker said.

Possible changes advocated by Southlake Mayor John Terrell include requiring companies to disclose all the chemicals used in fracturing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

You are invited!

Saturday!  Where?  Tandy Hills.

See Durango for the low down.

Doesn't matter which Shale

It's the same Hell.

Think you'll get rich off your mineral lease then move on?  The banks say no.  Maybe your royalties will cover your losses.  How's that working out for you so far?

Read about it on TXSharon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Watch This....

Click here to watch an ABC News video report of the recent natural gas explosion in Philadelphia.

Way with words

We don't know him, but he made us all laugh.

Read it in the Letters to the Editor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Bedside manner

In the Jan. 12 Star-Telegram, Gov. Rick Perry said he doesn't see a fiscal catastrophe striking Texas anytime soon. That's good news, because I had thought the state's multibillion-dollar shortfall might be a problem.

Have you seen the Sprint commercial where the smarmy, it's-all-about-me doctor is more concerned with his cellphone bill than with his patient, a terrified football player with a shattered knee?

Perry is that doctor.

You're the jock on the table.

-- John Dycus, Arlington

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gas Explosion in Philadelphia

WHO's next?

One dead, five injured, houses leveled...don't kid yourself, it can happen anywhere.

Read about it on

Department of Justice

Somebody has to protect OUR water.  We don't care who.

The United States Department of Justice filed a complaint today against Range Production Company and Range Resources Corporation ("Range") in federal district court, seeking enforcement of a Dec. 7, 2010, emergency order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency against the companies. In the order, the EPA determined that Range had caused or contributed to the contamination of a drinking water aquifer in Parker County, Texas. The complaint asks the Dallas court to direct the companies to comply with portions of the order and to pay a civil penalty of up to $16,500 per day of violation.

Read about it on TXSharon.
And don't miss Al Armendariz being honored by the Texas Monthly.  Kudos Al!

Southlake 180 day moratorium on gas drilling

Read about it in the Southlake Journal.

If you were moving to Tarrant County, WHERE would you choose to live?  Somewhere that rubber stamps drilling, or somewhere that looks at the consequences?

City administrators had proposed a 90-day moratorium, but Mayor John Terrell and other council members doubled that.

XTO's request to drill up to 18 wells has been tabled three times, once by the zoning commission and twice by the council.

In Keller, XTO has requested that the City Council delay until Feb. 15 a decision on the Sky Creek Ranch drill site, which is within 1,000 feet of 18 Southlake homes. The Keller Planning and Zoning Commission recommended Jan. 10 that the council deny the request to drill up to 12 wells there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grand Prairie Gas Drilling Showdown continues

Same thing, different city. The industry promises royalities (among other things), says it's a must for the economy.  WHO pays?  And what's the price?  How much was your royalty check?  Will it buy you air and water?  Those we talked to stated their royalty checks wouldn't even buy them a tank of gas.  Ironic?

Read about it on

"I went down to City Hall that night. I just went down there and I said, 'What is this? What are those?' When I spoke to them after the meeting, no one seemed to know anything," Read said.

But those living next to the drilling activity feel they are ones paying the price.

"It's not about the almighty dollar," Reed said. "It's about our health; it's about our environment; it's about our homes, and if they vote for that, they are not protecting us."

Those opponents say many more people would be upset if they really knew what's going on behind the scenes at Grand Prairie City Hall.

It ain't just Grand Prairie...WHO's next?
And is it any wonder that the group WHO is supposed to oversee and protect residents is called the "Railroad" Committee?

Where does YOUR water come from?

And what's in it?

Read about the Tarrant Regional Water District and their maintenance work that will be changing the taste of your water is you live in parts of Fort Worth or Burleson, Crowley, Kennedale, Haltom City, Hurst, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Dalworthington Gardens, Edgecliff Village, Forest Hill and Grand Prairie, as well as Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

The difference in taste is caused by higher algae blooms in Benbrook Lake compared with those found in East Texas lakes. The water will be fully treated but if the algae count is at an extremely high level, there may be a noticeable difference in taste.

What does infrastructure cost?

Richland Hills is having problems with rainwater leaking into the 50-60 year old sewer system.  How old is YOUR system?  Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Storm-water infiltration into the city's sewer system generated extra charges from Fort Worth's water treatment plant, which caused Richland Hills to withdraw $500,000 from its oil and gas fund to pay the bill, officials said.

Speaking of gas funds, read about Tarrant County leading the way in gas production, while our infrastructure crumbles around us.

But Quin said it's obvious that runoff water is infiltrating the sewers.

"The wastewater charges [from Fort Worth] fluctuate annually with dry and wet periods. Some years it's near $500,000, some $600,000. One year, in 2007, the charges spiked at over $800,000."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Arlington Planning and Zoning Questions

We received an email with lots of questions.  Anyone know the answer?

Direction Change Regarding Air Quality

On October 6, 2010, City Council provided P&Z clear direction regarding the issue of Air Quality.

As a result, P&Z removed this issue from its list of topics to study and report out on in Phase II. P&Z wishes to note that it fully supports City Council’s proactive actions with respect to additional reporting requirements and testing.

My first question is what was the "old direction"...look the other way?

Since they have been permitting for almost three years now, when was P&Z going to study air quality and advise council?

How can P&Z thank council for taking a proactive stance? We are mostly all drilled out now....damage is done.

Grand Prairie has a moratorium until their gas drilling ordinance is finished.

Our strategy is to get as many approved before the new ordinance is in place, however, the new ordinance isn't direct about steps to prevent poor air quality.

YOU are invited!

Want to know about water quality?


North Central Council of Governments

616 Six Flags Drive

Tom Vandergriff Conference Center (First Floor Centerpoint II)

William J. Pitstick Executive Board Room

Arlington, TX 76011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1:30 – 3:30 P.M.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fort Worth Condos

144 units are going to foreclosure auction.  These condos are located in the old Montgomery Ward building, you know, the one that was flooded by the Trinity River in 1949, prior to the levees being constructed.

Is Fort Worth moving forward?  Remove the levees and build another 12,000 condos.  What could possibly go wrong with that?

YOU should ask.  After all, YOU are paying for it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Do YOU believe her?

Kay Bailey Hutchison says she won't run again.  Didn't she say something similar during the Governor's race? 

Read about it in the Houston Chronicle.

We need a whole new crop of candidates. REAL candidates.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not local...yet

Here's a good timeline on the dead birds, fish, etc. They also bring up a good point about mainstream media. 

Mainstream media doesn't have time to research why thousands of creatures dying all over the planet, they are too busy blaming whatever political party they aren't in for the shootings last weekend. Disgusting.  The act itself and the part the media has played.

We need a new mainstream media.  One that asks questions.  And doesn't waste airtime giving their opinion.  You know what they say about opinions.

Read the timeline here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Keller vs. XTO

The Keller Planning and Zoning denied a permit to drill closer to residents than the ordinance allowed. XTO plans to go on to the City Council.  YOU should too.

Kudos to Keller P and Z for protecting your residents!

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The council, which has the authority to reduce the setback to 400 feet, is scheduled to vote on XTO's request on Feb. 1.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Texas politics - Dirty Laundry

Tom DeLay has been sentenced to three years in prison for his part in the corporate campaign money laundering. 

It can happen.

Read about it on

 A judge ordered former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to serve three years in prison Monday for his role in a scheme to illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.

Perry For President?

Per a recent survey, Texans say no.  The spinners say maybe that's because people want him to stay where he is.  We say maybe they should have done a more thorough study.  And find us some candidates while you're at it please.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Gov. Rick Perry insists that he has no intention of running for president, and that's apparently just fine with a strong majority of his fellow Texans, according to a newly released poll conducted for the Star-Telegram and other major newspapers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rule 37

Great Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Rule 37

People fighting Rule 37 harassment by the oil and gas players should contact their state representatives and senators. Please tell them your stories of underhanded dealings by these operators and your concern for the unfairness of the process.

This issue is one greater than the drilling issue. Mineral rights go to the basic fact of personal private property rights. We will have a stronger fight by making legislators understand and defend that issue vs. the energy industry's issue of gas is an economic boon to the state. Property rights are an easier concept for them to wrap their hands around.

Theft is theft, and even they will have a hard time defending themselves for doing little or nothing to address that aspect of it.

-- Gary Hogan, Fort Worth

No Frac-ing Way

Josh Fox tells it how it is.  This was recorded in Pennsylvania, however the first few minutes are all about Fort Worth and of course DISH, TX.

If you don't want to it on TXSharon.

Stay tuned for Gasland 2.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Imagine that...

It's all connected. 

What do the BP Oil Spill workers and Barnett Shale residents have in common?  Toxic chemicals in their blood.  Read about it on TXSharon.

Boondoggle's Everywhere....

And not a drop to drink.  WHERE are their priorities?  By the way, if you weren't aware Arlington has some flooding issues.  Maybe someone should address those instead of bike paths.

Learn more @

In SOS email #18, released the morning following Thanksgiving, we pointed out that the Bike Plan in its 400 pages never mentioned anything about cost. That same afternoon, city staff added cost information (see bike plan Appendix C)—$16,086,047. However, right-of-way costs were omitted. Considering that the bike plan is so specific as to streets targeted and how those streets are to be altered, it seems to us that right-of-way needs and estimated costs could have and should have been included as part of the total. Right of way is expensive, especially where property owners resist the taking of their land.

That said, we believe the $16,086,047 total, with or without right-of-way information, grossly understates the true cost of the bike plan because it ignores other key expenses. It is difficult to believe 240 streets (a total of 271.7 lane miles (see Bike Plan section/page 3-12) can be reconfigured for bicycles and the cost be just $16,086,047.

We believe the proposed street/bike plan will, if fully implemented, become a billion dollar boondoggle for Arlington, a claim we do not lightly make. Here are all the costs we anticipate:

1) COST: $16 MILLION plus right of way where applicable (Bike Plan Appendix C total). All costs appear to be associated with street restriping, new bicycle signage, etc. This figure does not account for the value of the traffic lanes that will be converted from vehicular to bicycle use (see item 2 below).

2) COST: $271.7 MILLION. A mile of street lane costs $1 million or more to construct. The bike plan will convert 271.7 miles (see bike plan section 3-5) of street lanes from vehicle use to bicycle use. When the time comes to reconstruct a worn out street, the cost to replace the bicycle lane and the traffic lanes will be the same—over one million dollars per mile.

3) COST: $561.7 MILLION public gasoline consumption caused by increased traffic congestion. The new bike/street plan will, according to city planners, lead to a one minute additional drive time per day per citizen. Given the propensity to understate bad news, we believe the planned “traffic calming” (intentional congestion) described in the street/bike plan will yield two minutes delay per citizen per day or even more. Because of slower (and thus longer) drive times, the citizens of Arlington could spend as much as 12,000 hours per day in their cars, needlessly burning an extra $561.7 million worth of fuel over the 15-year life of this plan. For full details, go to our web site and see “SOS Update #10: New street/bike plan could cost the citizens far more than anticipated.”

4) COST: ??? MILLION. In the case of streets that were narrowed from 4 traffic lanes to 2 in order to make room for bike lanes, the cost of adding back 2 traffic lanes will be extreme, as doing so will require buying additional right of way and then widening the entire street. The per-mile cost of converting such a street back to 4 lanes will be $6 to $7 million per mile.

5) COST: ??? MILLION. When a street is reduced from 4 to 2 traffic lanes, traffic doubles on those remaining lanes and they wear out much more quickly, resulting in an accelerated need for street repairs and replacement. The more frequent repair and reconstruction cycles will be a significant new burden to taxpayers, and to businesses who will suffer due to reduced access to customers.

6) COST: ??? MILLION. The imposition of new building codes, fees, and other requirements crafted to encourage bicycling will place further cost burdens on Arlington residents and businesses. There are 44 bicycle-related changes to zoning ordinances, subdivision rules, codes, and design criteria listed in the bike plan, and more would certainly follow (see bike plan, section 6, pg 1-8).

7) COST: ??? MILLION. These new building codes, fees, and other requirements will discourage new commercial and residential development in Arlington.

8) COST: ??? MILLION. One of the more troubling mandates in the bike plan is a requirement for “changing stations,” facilities with personal lockers, showers, sinks, benches, etc. where bicycle riders can change from their sweaty street Spandex to ordinary work clothes before walking the remaining few blocks to work. Businesses above a certain size will be required to provide these facilities. Smaller businesses would pay a prorated fee for the changing station serving their area. A changing station able to accommodate even moderate use would require 5,000 sq. ft. and cost $1 million or more. Because each would need to be within a few blocks of the bicyclist’s final destination, a significant number would be necessary in order to provide changing service throughout the city. Changing stations will be one of the new building code requirements beginning in 2012-2013 (see bike plan section 7, pg 15).

9) COST: ??? MILLION. Bicycling to work or other utilitarian activity by bicycle will not replace cars in any statistically meaningful way, but the bike plan will increase air pollution because, through “street dieting,” “traffic calming,” and other strategies devised to slow traffic and even intentionally induce congestion (“where congestion is desired,” see street plan, chapter 2, pg 7), the street/bike plan will keep cars and trucks on our streets thousands of hours more than necessary every day. It would take an incredible number of bike trips just to offset the increased gasoline use—much more than will ever happen, given our weather, demographics, and the inherent advantages of the automobile. Thus the environmental remediation costs under the bike plan will go up rather than down.

We have nothing against bicycle riders or off-road bicycle paths that are in parks or on other non-street right-of-ways. We also believe that very limited on-street bike lanes can be justified on a few streets, UTA to the downtown area being a prime example. But the taxpayers and business community of Arlington should not be asked to walk the fiscal-plank for the benefit of a select few.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cathy Hirt said WHAT?

Oh wait, she didn't.  THEY just said she did.  Imagine that.  It has begun. 

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Clearing the air

The Sunday editorial reported incorrectly that Cathy Hirt is recruiting a slate of candidates to run against incumbent Fort Worth City Council members. (See: "Politics and the search for a new city manager")

Hirt believes in transparency: in government, in politics and in journalism. As her campaign treasurer, I will clear the air. Cathy Hirt is not recruiting a slate of candidates to run against council members. Period.

She is committed to running for mayor regardless of any other candidates -- even the eight-year incumbent mayor.

A crisis of leadership in the mayor's office is putting our great city at risk. City services are neglected; city finances are in jeopardy because of ever-growing budget deficits and an underfunded pension, and, worst of all, residents feel ignored.

Fort Worth deserves a principled, innovative leader. This is why I am supporting Hirt and volunteering for her campaign.

Cathy Hirt will listen to and work with citizens to put our city's fiscal house in order, help grow the economy, provide quality city services, make our city safer, restore faith in government and make open access to the mayor's office a reality.

-- Rick Kubes, Fort Worth

For more info on the Mayor's race in Fort Worth click here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Calling TCEQ

Or actually, they are calling Dear Durango for help.  After you read it, you'll know why they need all the help they can get.

Read the entire exchange between Durango and the TCEQ here.

Then come to their next meeting about water quality on January 20th.  We hear it's at the North Central Texas Council of Government offices. That explains some things.

Don't worry, we'll let you know when to be where.

Pick one

And go!

Tonight gas drilling on the agenda in Fort Worth, Arlington and Southlake City Council meetings.

Where do YOU live?  Be there!

Young Guns

We salute the four fourth grade girls who took their fight to North Richland Hills City Hall.

More power to them.  And sidewalks for all! Watch out boys, we're betting at least one of these girls will be Mayor one day.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cowboys Stadium Drilling

Leave it to Mel...

Council member Mel LeBlanc said the more than 1,400 form letter e-mails he had received by early Monday afternoon would play no role in his decision on whether to grant the permit.

Aren't councilmembers supposed to use the citizens input in their decision making process?

Be there Tuesday, remind him.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

If the permit is approved, Chesapeake has agreed to hold off drilling until after Super Bowl XLV, which will be held at Cowboys Stadium on Feb. 6. Drilling would not occur under the stadium.