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SOUTHLAKE Residents of Southlake and Grapevine were asking questions Tuesday night about a proposed natural gas drilling operation.

The site is in Southlake, but across the street from Grapevine High School.

A meeting Tuesday night at Southlake City Hall was the first of three opportunities for residents to put questions to XTO Energy and the pipeline company involved in the project.

XTO wants to drill wells just off Highway 26. A company spokesman said many people would benefit financially, including Grapevine High School, less than 850 feet from the closest proposed well.

But the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD isn't giving XTO the green light just yet. The City of Grapevine does not permit drilling within 1,000 feet of schools.

We're trying to gather information so that we can understand the drilling process, and any potential impact that that could have on students, staff or facilities, said school district spokeswoman Megan Overman.

In the end, however, GCISD's opinion may not matter, because XTO elected to drill the wells in a neighboring city. Legally, Grapevine is powerless to stop it.

Southlake is holding meetings to listen to all concerns. On Tuesday, XTO Energy regulatory affairs coordinator Walter Dueease addressed a question about potential emissions.

What are we going to do to protect those nearest? We're going to do everything we possibly can, and it means that it starts with our monitoring of our well site, Dueease said.

The area is already home to other industrial operations. Some residents wanted to know about any increase in truck traffic.

There is quite a bit of traffic on Highway 26, but I don't think that it is at a level that is deemed to be congested, Dueease said.

The proposed well site would be a first for Southlake. After all three public meetings, the issue will go to the city's planning and zoning commission and then to the City Council for final consideration.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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