Last time the City Plan Commission voted to deny a request to frack the Trinity River floodplain, its rationale seemed pretty clear: For now, it runs contrary to a city law that says fracking land prone to flooding isn't such a swell idea.
The commissioners felt plum awkward on December. 20. With little experience in the arena of metropolitan drilling, they were tasked with considering special-use permits for shale gas wells requested by producer Trinity East. Meanwhile, City Council members had yet to vote on a long-gestating, revised drilling ordinance that would clear things up for them considerably. So, the decision didn't look all that difficult. Change city code, render this proposal lawful, and we'll take it up later.
Later came sooner than we thought. Chairman Joe Alcantar, who was one of the yes votes for the SUP, agreed to reconsider the proposal Friday, and a hearing has been set for Thursday. Unless the law changes in the next few days (which it won't), sinking wells in a floodplain considered parkland will still violate current city ordinance, and the commissioners' misgivings will remain -- and so may its rejection of the SUPs.
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To clear that hurdle, the measure will require a super-majority in the City Council. Should be an interesting hearing Thursday, so tune into Unfair Park. We'll be there.