City Hall

Once More Into the Frack: Council Considers Changes for Disposal Well at DFW Airport

If you thought you'd heard the last from the City Council on gas drilling for a while, well, think again.

Originally, the council was going to approve, without much, if any, discussion tomorrow a resolution by the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport board relating to the gas drilling on the property. The way the item was originally brought to the council, it would have approved the DFW board's attempt to "amend airport regulations relating to oil and gas exploration and production, including requirements for the use of explosives on airport property and incorporation of Texas Railroad Commission regulations." There was but a single exception to the change -- "a provision related to brackish water disposal."

If you think that's all very vague, you're not alone.

"It's not clear to me exactly what's being proposed," Angela Hunt tells Unfair Park this afternoon. "And it's not clear to me why we'd be going forward with this just as we're trying to step and back and evaluate the health safety of the fracking process."

Update at 3:34 p.m. Wednesday: The council voted not to open access to Chesapeake's fracking fluid disposal well at D/FW Airport earlier today. A full update from intern Alex Copeland follows after the jump.

Hunt had the item pulled for individual consideration tomorrow morning to hear more about the impact it'd have at DFW. "I have a lot of questions, and I hope to get them answered tomorrow," she says.

Under a 2006 deal, Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy has been drilling for natural gas at DFW land, paying out royalties to both Dallas and Fort Worth. Dallas gas drilling activists Raymond Crawford and Marc McCord tell us they're concerned the ordinance is about turning Chesapeake's disposal well at DFW, where the company pumps its spent fracking fluid, into a permanent underground dumping site for other companies -- which would be more convenient, and potentially more dangerous, than the next closest disposal wells.

Update filed by Alex Copeland: Shortly after council began its meeting this morning, Hunt, who'd proposed pulling the resolution for discussion, questioned DFW Vice President of Commercial Development John Terrell about the recommendation.

Terrell told her the thought behind the recommendation was to allow any other Chesapeake well sites around the airport to use the centralized on-airport disposal, rather than other disposal sites throughout the county.

"The airport is fine with removing the language that was previously proposed and leaving the language as is, that only allows disposal of on-airport water by Chesapeake," Terrell said, and that's how the council voted.

Gas drilling activist Raymond Crawford also spoke before the council today, urging the council form a taskforce to address rising concerns over environmental issues like these. He provided a list of recommended experts for the council to consider.

"The problem, in the big picture, is that all of this is gas related considerations being done piecemeal," Crawford told Unfair Park later. "This is why we need a task force to cover the gambit from beginning to end."