When I quoted the Richardson mayor last week, it was on the topic of farmers markets, which the city sees as a "potential problem," not an asset, and wishes to tangle in red tape. The city council has already devoted time in two meetings to look into how to restrict them. At least another meeting is needed for the council to formally adopt an ordinance. So, our city council is on top of this "potential problem."One of the strengths that our city has is that we recognize potential problems before they become problems.
Source: neighborsgo Richardsone.
All that set me to thinking (always dangerous). What other "potential problems" are out there that Richardson ought to be acting on before they become real problems? That's when I came across the city of Denton's clusterf*ck over gas drilling in residential neighborhoods (sorry, that's the word that came to mind, for obvious reasons). The story, after the jump.
The way Unfair Park's Amy Silverstein tells it:
Last fall, Eagleridge Energy won some permits to frack right next to a few Denton neighborhoods, despite a new city ordinance that was supposed to keep the company farther away. The city said sorry, it was powerless to stop Eagleridge, because the company had found an extremely clever loophole. So now, pissed-off homeowners are responding by basically telling the city "screw you" and trying to kick the company out themselves.
Source: Unfair Park.
Sharon Wilson has personal knowledge of the background to this fiasco (is that a better word?). The way she tells it in a comment to the Unfair Park story:
The city intentionally added the loophole as a give away to the developers in the area. I was sitting in the council chambers when that happened. EagleRidge did not find a loophole, it was handed to them by Mayor Burroughs.
Source: Unfair Park.
I don't have the insight to say who is to blame for this, whether the oil companies snookered the city or whether the city was in cahoots with the oil companies all along. Either way, this part of the story seems to be true: "'The city and the state have repeatedly failed us,' Maile Bush, one of the homeowners living just outside an Eagleridge drill site, says.
So, I can't help wondering whether anyone in Richardson knows how big a risk there is that we'll see drilling sites in Richardson one day. I sure don't. I don't recall the city council devoting any meeting time to assessing how serious a "potential problem" this might be. Given that one of Richardson's state legislators, Stefani Carter, is bankrolled by the oil and gas industry, it's clear that we can't look to the state for protection. Unfortunately, as long as Richardson's city council is distracted by non-problems like farmers markets and is not looking into potential real problems like gas fracking in residential neighborhoods, I'm not confident we can depend on our city council to protect us, either.