The Arlington City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday night to reject French oil major Total’s request for a permit to drill three controversial natural gas wells a just hundreds of feet from a day care center in a predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhood.
Total obtained a state permit last year to drill a new horizontal well off State Highway 360 and East Pioneer Parkway but still needed a city permit before the project could move forward.
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 company planned to use 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.
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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
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 drilling site is 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 years. Sharing a fence with Total’s property, Vincent said the site is visible from the day care’s playground. Although her business and the natural gas production site have been neighbors for more than 10 years, she is against Total drilling the three new wells.
“Can you guarantee me 100 percent that you’re not putting any of us in harm’s way now or in the future,” Vincent asked. “I understand that we may not…