The City of Dallas Plan Commission late Thursday voted unanimously to deny without prejudice an application by Trinity East Energy LLC for specific use permits to perform the first natural gas drilling within the city limits. The commission refused to recommend to Dallas City Council approval of the company’s plans to drill on two city-owned sites and one private site in northwest Dallas. The city-owned sites are in a floodplain, and the private site is near where a soccer complex is being developed. Drilling in a floodplain is against city ordinance, and council would need to amend the city’s floodplain ordinance before voting on zoning approvals for drilling. The city has yet to adopt a new ordinance to deal with gas drilling despite the completion earlier this year of a set of recommendations developed by the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force (see Shale Daily, Dec. 10). Dallas City Council next month is expected to have the final say on Trinity’s request.

As another indication of the economic stimulus from burgeoning shale plays like the Bakken in North Dakota, United Airlines recently announced plans to resume daily direct flights to Rapid City, SD, from Houston, noting that it was spurred in part by the Bakken. Flights between George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Rapid City’s regional airport will resume June 6 and continue through Aug. 26. The daily flights will be via 50-passenger regional jets provided by United Express affiliates. United said the flights are aimed at vacation spots in the Black Hills of South Dakota as well as the “booming oilfields” in neighboring North Dakota.