A proposal adopt an ordinance to temporarily suspend natural gas drilling permits in Flower Mound, TX, which is in the Barnett Shale region, was denied Thursday night by the town council in a 3-2 vote.

The request, by Town Manager Harlan Jefferson, followed an administrative moratorium, which he enacted Dec. 8, to suspend permit requests until the council had made a decision. The item was proposed, said Jefferson, because of increasing concerns from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) about potential hazardous materials and ambient air quality associated with gas drilling in the gas shale play.

The TCEQ is completing an analysis on air quality samples from Barnett Shale drilling sites; the analysis is expected to be issued by the end of this month or in early January (see Daily GPI, Dec. 18).

Councilman Mike Wallace told NGI, “I know there are some concerning statements coming out of the TCEQ. What we have heard is rather scary. But I don’t believe that in this town, with the 42 wells that we’ve permitted, that there is an emergency that we must immediately address…Until we have proof that there’s actually a problem, I’m concerned with having a moratorium put into place that might limit the property rights of mineral owners in our town.”

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