Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Texas Town's Drilling Supporters Fall Short of Petition Goal

Citizens for Property Rights (CPR), a five-member group that opposes what members believe are too-strict restrictions on gas drilling imposed by the city of Southlake, TX, failed to get enough signatures on a petition to relax some of the rules. However, CRP Chairman Stephen Oren said the group will try again.

CPR had until last Tuesday to get 3,348 signatures but managed to get about 2,800. CPR for now has withdrawn its petition initiative to get Southlake to amend its Gas and Oil Well Production Ordinance 880-B, known as Article IV, Chapter 9.5, which was passed by the City Council in November 2011, and accept an Amended 880-CPR Ordinance for public vote.

The petition would have required under the Texas Constitution home rule and Southlake Charter that the citizens of Southlake should have a vote over the oil and gas drilling ordinances in Southlake. Since the petition failed to garner enough signatures, the earliest the issue could be put to a vote would be May 2013, assuming CPR mounts a successful petition campaign.

Among the restrictions on drilling approved by the city is a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing during the summer. What driller -- or any other business, for that matter -- is going to want to do business in Southlake if it can't operate for three months out of the year, Oren lamented to NGI's Shale Daily. "I would have had no problem with it if they said the city is not going to sell them water during the summer months. OK, that's fine; let them go somewhere else to get water," Oren said.

Oren grew up in Carrollton, TX, and said he's lived in Southlake for 15 years. He signed a lease with XTO Energy to drill on his land; however, the company packed up and left town when the city denied it a permit to drill. He and CPR are focusing on educating Southlake citizens about drilling practices. The effort includes support of the upcoming documentary film FrackNation.

"I don't think people really realize what the issue is and how important it is to stop this [anti-drilling sentiment] in the bud; otherwise, it's going to develop to the point that we can't drill at all," he said.

"Most people that we see face to face are very supportive of gas drilling. The issue is getting them to turn out to support the effort...We had several [petition] signing opportunities that were what I would say marginally successful. When we took the drive door to door, we got tremendous support for it."

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