In late February, I outlined to my council colleagues a proposal to create a gas drilling taskforce that would evaluate the environmental, health, and safety effects of gas drilling and propose changes to Dallas’ gas drilling ordinance. Today, Councilman Neumann and I sent a joint letter to our council colleagues encouraging them to support such a taskforce, among several alternatives to be considered by the council on Wednesday.
The taskforce is largely as I had proposed with some minor changes: It will include three oil & gas experts instead of two, three environmentalists/residents (same as proposed), and three industry representatives OR business representatives (regional chamber/oil & gas attorneys/etc.) instead of a single oil & gas industry rep. The taskforce will include non-voting members from the regional EPA and TCEQ, as well as a representative from the Park Board (the city’s gas lease includes parkland).
It was important that the selection process be open and transparent, so we have proposed a public application process (anyone may apply) and any councilmember who requests to serve on the selection committee may do so.
This is a critical first step in ensuring Dallas citizens and our environment are protected from any risks posed by the gas drilling process and I am hopeful that my colleagues will support this effort.