Proposal seeks to keep gas wells one mile from schools

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on February 17, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 18 at 12:15 AM

FORT WORTH - Penny Plavidal has two children in the Fort Worth Independent School District. Recently, a natural gas company wanted to put several wells just a few blocks away from the school they attend.

“I've realized it could potentially really affect our health and that's where we got involved,” she said.

Parents and others the Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods convinced the school board in November to give them time to study the issue of drilling near schools. The board decided to wait three months to approve new gas leases, giving researchers volunteering for the league time to come up with recommendations.

Deborah Rogers acted as the league’s liaison to FWISD.

“I think you have to go above and beyond for school children," she said.

Thursday night, the researchers presented their ideas to league members. The most dramatic was a proposal that drill sites be kept at least one mile from schools.

Dr. Melanie Sattler said children are more vulnerable to emissions.

“They take in more air per body mass, and they tend to be outside and their bodies are still developing," she said.

The City of Fort Worth currently requires wells to be at least 600-feet from schools. FWISD is more strict, requiring a 1,200-foot setback. The league's proposal of one mile amounts to 5,280 feet. The report, along with other proposals, will be presented to the school board on Tuesday.

“I think they really stood up for the kids and I think they really did what was right," Plavidal said.

Now, she said she hopes the board will also do so.

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