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XTO Hits Brakes On Dallas Gas Drilling

drilling rig.jpg

Plans for natural gas drilling in Dallas took an unexpected twist this week.  One of the major players is putting plans to drill on hold. 

At the Dallas City Plan Commission meeting Thursday, officials said XTO, the ExxonMobil subsidiary, sent word it was pulling its permit requests to drill on the old Henlsey Field in southwest Dallas.  For how long is unclear.

That means the request from Trinity East Energy to drill in northwest Dallas will be the first to come to a vote of the Plan Commission since the city council put gas drilling was put on hold two years ago.  

Environmentalist Jim Schermbeck says the Trinity East wells would be in the floodplain and in a park.

“One of the sites is by LB Houston golf course, right there by the drive," Schermbeck said.  "It’s going to be in clear sight of everyone golfing there and using the park.”

Schermbeck says no permits should be issued before approval of the city’s new, tougher drilling ordinance crafted by a task force. Officials say the city council could add additional conditions to any drilling permits issued.

The City Plan Commission vote on the Trinity East wells is set for December 20th.  

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.