The Arlington City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday night against issuing a permit that would have allowed French oil major Total to drill three new natural gas wells hundreds of feet away from a day care in a predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhood.
Total obtained a state permit last year to drill a new well targeting the natural-gas rich Barnett Shale formation on the company’s AC360 lease off State Highway and East Pioneer Parkway but still needs a city permit before the project can move forward.
After more than an hour of testimony Tuesday night from 14 people against the project, the city council voted against issuing a permit. The vote came a couple hours after the council unanimously voted to approve resolutions against racism and decrying how the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately affecting minorities.
Total officials could not immediately be reached for comment but during a Tuesday night presentation, the company’s regional government affairs manager Kevin Strawser said the French-owned company planned to bring in an electric-powered drilling rig that would reduce noise and pollution. The company, he said, also pledged to drill more than the 600-foot distance required from homes and businesses and that there have been no environmental violations at the site over its 10-year history.
Arlington City Council Drilling Permit Vote
The Arlington City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday night against issuing a permit that would have allowed French oil major Total to drill three new natural gas wells hundreds of feet away from a day care in a predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhood. Here’s the break down:
- Helen Moise
- Andrew Piel
- Ignacio Nuñez
- Mayor Jeff Williams
- Sheri Capeheart
- Marvin Sutton
- Robert Shepard
- Victoria Farrar-Myers
- Barbara Odem-Wesley
Source: City of Arlington
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Oklahoma oil company Chesapeake Energy originally drilled the site in June 2010 but sold the lease and others in the area to Total in September 2016. The neighborhood surrounding the AC360 lease is roughly 63 percent Latino and 14 percent African-American with 30 percent of the people living below the poverty limit, according to U.S. Census figures.
In her testimony, Wanda Vincent said she has owned and operated the Mother’s Heart Learning Center caring for neighborhood children ages six weeks to 12 years old over the past 17…