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Argyle - Bartonville Communites Alliance
Argyle, TX 76226

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Letter to Denton County Commissioners Court

The Hon. Mary Horn, County Judge 
Hugh Coleman, Commissioner, Precinct 1
Ron Marchant, Commissioner, Precinct 2
Bobbie Mitchell, Commissioner, Precinct 3
Andy Eads, Commissioner, Precinct 4

To the Members of Denton County Commissioners Court:
Thank you very much for allowing us to bring our concerns about the development of the natural gas industry in our county directly to you. We are encouraged by your willingness to appoint a task force to bring about the best practices throughout the county.

We are most encouraged that the court considers Drill Right Texas an appropriate framework for the start of the committee’s work. The Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project has tapped the wisdom and best practices from around the country in an effort to bring relief to North Texans who believe both their quality of life and property value has been sacrificed to the shale. We strongly recommend at least one person on the committee be from Texas OGAP, so that we have a  direct line to that immense body of expertise.

We recognize that the industry must be mindful of their contractual obligations to their leaseholders and shareholders as they develop the immense resources of the Barnett Shale. To that end, any committee must be charged with a mission that includes recommendations for regulatory reform. This reform must occur not only in relevant state and federal agencies, but also in the next Texas legislature. Without much stronger enforcement of measures that protect property, and human health and safety, our county will continue to suffer a host of losses, from immediate, recurring damages -- such as those inflicted on roads, bridges and floodplain -- to a growing crisis of confidence that will stifle investment and economic growth.

We encourage this body to appoint a membership of strong, action-oriented, business-savvy representatives of our community who have already shown the courage, and made some pragmatic progress, in this march toward best practices. These people can be found   troughout the county, and not only in Precinct 4.

As you evaluate candidates, we implore you to rule out anyone who does not understand the urgent need for an “eyes wide open” look at the impact of current practices and understand the true costs to our community long-term if these are not addressed. Similarly, we hope you will select candidates who understand that they must help information flow between the task force and their peers as well as their constituents.

(For example, a candidate chosen to represent municipalities should not only bring wisdom back to his or her own city, but also help other cities unite in their protection of constituents both in their corporate limits and their extra-territorial jurisdictions.)
Candidates should complete personal financial disclosure statements, similar to those completed by any other elected official, so you can be assured you have not appointed anyone with a significant financial relationship to the outcomes. While, at first blush, that appears to create a problem for representation from the industry, we feel that there are sufficient professional associations in the area -- the Society of Petroleum Engineers, for example -- to meet this requirement.

This body should receive testimony not only from local but also national experts when necessary. Its decisions need to be data-driven. This body will need support as it manages data from laboratories, industry, government and independent sources, including inspections and audits and other findings.

This body must meet in public. During its sessions, this body should document the applicable state regulations and local ordinances that coincide with best practices, and document those places where best practices are not being used in order to achieve the standard.
A minority report should accompany any block of recommendations that does not have unanimous support.

Argyle Bartonville Communities Alliance

1 comment:

  1. This letter has been endorsed to the commissioners by officials, residents, and/or community groups from Dish, Corinth, Denton and Flower Mound.