As Council Was to Take Up L.B. Houston Gas Drilling, It Retreated Behind Closed Doors
From today's council agenda
Council just wrapped discussing that police helicopter sale; Sandy Greyson, concerned about terrorist what-ifs, wanted it pulled from the consent agenda for further discussion, but the sale sailed through. This item's about something a little further down the agenda. As in: Last week, in the comments of this item about that meat-the-mayor dinner with the council scheduled during the gas drilling task force's public hearing, a reader said well of course Scott Griggs was ditching the BBQ for the meeting since "Griggs represents the only district where drilling is proposed." Referring, of course, to XTO Energy's lease at Hensley Field in far western Oak Cliff.
But, no. Griggs's isn't the only district where drilling is proposed. Matter of fact, you need look no further than today's council agenda to see the other lease: Trinity East Energy's proposal to drill, baby, drill at L.B. Houston Park, as you can see in the map at right. Trinity East had its lease extended in June while the task force figures out how to rewrite the drilling ordinance. Still, for some reason, it was scheduled to come before the council this morning as Consent Agenda Item No. 20:
"Authorize a public hearing to be held on September 14, 2011 to receive public comments concerning the surface use of two locations at L.B. Houston Park, from Royal Lane to Northwest Highway (golf course and gun range site) for natural gas drilling and mineral production by Trinity East Energy, LLC."
But, moments ago, Monica Alonzo -- in whose district that property sits -- put a stop to that, at least temporarily. She asked the council to retreat behind closed doors, in executive session with City Attorney Tom Perkins, to discuss the item. Mayor Mike said it oughta take 10, 15 minutes. What happens next? Not sure yet. Till then, read the agenda item after the jump.
Update at 10:20 a.m.: Council reconvened at 10:17 a.m., at which point Alonzo moved to hold the item till 30 days till after the council votes on its gas-drilling ordinance rewrite. Griggs seconded that emotion, then asked Tom Perkins: "Why is this item on the agenda at this time?" The city attorney said there's "a state law that requires a public hearing to address the issues associated with the protection of park land ... for non-park land uses." He then said the hearing can be delayed till after the task force makes its recommendations to the council. Council then voted to defer the item till then. Boom.
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