North Texas Daily

Group discusses drilling ordinance

Group discusses drilling ordinance

October 10
00:01 2012

Ben Peyton / Staff Writer

The city’s gas drilling task force released its recommendations for a new drilling ordinance last week and is accepting public input on the draft until Friday, which some Denton residents have argued does not provide enough time to address concerns about the ordinance.

The Denton Stakeholder Drilling Advisory Group, chaired by UNT philosophy professor Adam Briggle, met in a public meeting at the Business Leadership Building on Tuesday night to log public comments the group plans to present to the city council.

“Our goal as a group is to look at this draft ordinance, see what we don’t like about it and then forward a recommendation to the city council,” Briggle said.

The DAG’s goals include trying to extend the current drilling moratorium and work with the city’s committees to draft a new, permanent ordinance.

Drilling in Rayzor Ranch in Denton that started in 2009 set into motion the movement to adjust the current ordinance to accommodate the health and safety concerns of nearby residents, Briggle said.

Since then the city has struggled to set a permanent standard ordinance for drilling, and a moratorium on gas wells has been in place since February.

The city council is expected to vote on a new ordinance some time in December.

Denton attorney and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Neil Durrance said at the DAG meeting Tuesday that the recommendations made by the city’s task force were too lenient.

“The proposed ordinance, what the council has directed to have done, is a wet dream for gas companies,” Durrance said.

Other Denton residents seemed exasperated by the proposed ordinance.

City councilman Jim Engelbrecht, who was at the meeting, said he believes the source of anxiety is the possibility of the moratorium being lifted, and not necessarily the development of a new ordinance.

“How long do you extend the moratorium before somebody has to challenge it?” he asked.

To view the 42-page document of proposed revisions to the city’s gas well ordinance, go to cityofdenton.com/gaswellinspections.

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