Dallas's Gas Drilling Task Force to Begin Meetings With Overview From Fort Worth

This morning the city posted the agenda for the first-ever meeting of the Gas Drilling Task Force, which kicks off Tuesday at 2 p.m., don't be late. The agenda's mostly a bunch of introductory what-whats: Chair Lois Finkelman will give some opening remarks, outline its scope and schedule, review the existing ordinances and review Trinity East and XTO's requests to drill baby drill and wrap it up 'round 4:30.

But in the midst of that, Dallas's task force will get a lesson in gas drilling from Fort Worth -- Rick Trice, to be specific, a Planning and Development assistant director in charge of the city's gas drilling and leasing. A longtime employee with the city -- some 30 years -- the engineer will be the first to tell he's relatively new to the "contentious" world of gas drilling. "But it's been quite a learning experience," he tells Unfair Park this afternoon.

Trice was invited to speak to Dallas's task force based upon a 101 he gave the North Central Texas Council of Governments a couple of months ago. And, he says, he "doesn't get into the regulatory environment" concerning gas drilling, "except to get into who regulates what, like the Railroad Commission, and what cities can regulate, at least the way our city has interpreted it."

And he certainly won't touch on the furor over gas drilling that's erupted in Fort Worth in recent months, including last week's news that some 68 percent of the gas drilling wells in Fort Worth leak. Trice says Fort Worth presently has "about 1,800, 1,900 gas wells on over 500 sites."

"I will say this: I've heard our council say many times that it really is a balance," he says. "You have the owner's perspective and quality-of-life impact. And maintaining that is a fine line. That's the position councils get to make every week -- what that impact is."

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