Don't Frack Me, Bro: A Look at Arlington's Gas Drilling Fight in the Shadow of Jerryworld

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

While we await the Dallas City Council's decision concerning XTO's permit application to gas-drill within the city limits, we look just a little westward -- toward Arlington, where, tomorrow, the council there will vote on a permit to allow drilling on city property not too terribly far from Cowboys Stadium. Change.org has been documenting activist, mother and Arlington resident Kim Feil's long-running battle with city officials over Chesapeake Energy's application to sink wells in a low-income area but a few thousand feet from Jerryworld. Some 2,000 people have signed her petition ("Say No to Natural Gas Drilling Near Dallas Cowboy Stadium") since it was posted several weeks ago.

Today, hours before the vote, Change.org's Jess Leber catches up with Feil, who has made hounding the council and educating residents her full-time job:

[Feil] reports that she has a fair amount of success convincing landowners within 600-feet of the proposed site to reject the project. (Chesapeake Energy is required to get 60 percent of these landowners' support). The owners of a low-income housing unit, she says, have tried to give back their enticement check a few weeks ago, which they originally accepted a few years back before they fully understood the risks this project posed to their employees and residents. She has also spoken, through a translator, with the parishioners of a nearby Latino church, who, according to her, had signed a waiver for the project years ago without having much any idea what they were signing.

In a phone conversation last week, Feil also told me how she recently traveled to a public meeting of the Texas Railroad Commission, the oil and gas regulators who have let drilling run rampant in the state. As two commissioners left the building, she stuck her gas masked-dummy "Ben Zene" ... eye to eye with both of them. "It just felt good to be able to create that memory and have those men know that I'm not afraid to show them a gas mask and pull some sort of activism stunt like that," she said. (The Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Ordinances named her the hero of May 2010, calling her one of the "gutsiest" activists around.)

Update: As I was posting this, the Startlegram was posting an interview with Arlington city council member Mel LeBlanc, who said, probably not in a Bugs Bunny voice, that he will not be swayed by the thousands of petitions Feil's managed to land in his in-box: "LeBlanc said he does not believe the proposed drill site would endanger the stadium, which is owned by the city and leased by the Dallas Cowboys, or the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the stadium for tours or events."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.