Arlington OKs gas wells near Cowboys Stadium

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by GARY REAVES

WFAA

Posted on June 9, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 10 at 11:48 AM

Truman drilling site

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ARLINGTON — This week, the Arlington City Council delayed approval to drill a natural gas well at the front door of Cowboys Stadium, but it did sign off on another site just three blocks to the south.

City leaders say they are doing what their citizens want.

"The majority of people in that area —  certainly the majority of people in Arlington — are in favor of gas well drilling," said Council member Mel LeBlanc.

Kim Feil is president of the Old Town Neighborhood Association, two blocks from what’s known as the Truman well site at 311 North Collins Street.  She  notes that the majority of people who live nearby rent apartments and mobile homes.

The city only mails meeting notices to property owners; the rest have to read the posted signs, the Web or the legal notices in the newspaper.

“In this case,” Feil said, “they didn’t know about the City Council public hearing.”

Feil got 30 renters to sign a petition against drilling. But in spite of that —  and opposition from the planning and zoning board — the City Council approved the zoning change.

Mayor Robert Cluck says the buck stops with the elected officials. “We're the body that makes the decision," he said. "We think that’s a good piece of property for drilling. Not all the land near the stadium is prime land.”

The wells do bring tax money to the city — and royalty payments to landowners.

Even Kim Feil would get some revenue from a gas well. She said she would spend it to protect herself from air pollution she blames on the wells.

“I’ll buy an in-home filtering system, because I can’t afford to move," she said. "I paid off my house, and I can’t afford to start all over."

The city is looking at changing many of the rules on gas well permitting. The mayor wants them to drill faster and move on, rather than tie up valuable land for years.

Others want to change the way the city notifies people of public hearings.

The proposals are on the city's Web site. The first public hearing is next week on June 16.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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