Oil and Greed

 gaswell.jpg

Ben sent me a link to this blog article yesterday.  The gist of it is that Chesapeake Energy is planning to build a gas pipeline that crosses my street (although it’s a couple blocks away from my house) so they can transport natural gas from wells they’re going to drill on the TCU campus.

This whole urban drilling craze is like a bad dream — it’s clearly a terrible idea, but the worst part is that we’re all willing participants.

Here’s the deal:  There’s a huge natural gas field right under Fort Worth.  Oil companies want that gas, so they’re going to put wells in some of our most historic neighborhoods.   Of course this involves big, ugly, loud machinery, clear-cutting of old growth trees, hundreds of trucks, and pollution of our air, water, and soil.  Wells will be drilled right next to houses and schools (by law they only have to be 200 feet away), and even in downtown Fort Worth.

But we’re willing to overlook all of this for a few thousand bucks apiece.  Heck, I signed up myself (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?).  But I think most people — including me — had no idea what they were signing up for.  In a few months, when we have to look at these wells every day and deal with the reality of noise, fumes, and dust we might regret that we didn’t think things through a little better.

To me, this is exactly the type of situation where government should step in and protect us from from ourselves.  Isn’t this what zoning is all about?  But in this case, the City of Fort Worth is making millions from leasing gas rights to its own land holdings.

It’s sad, really.  Fort Worth feels like a city that’s on the verge of becoming a special place.  In a year or two I think we’re going to look back on urban drilling as a big mistake.

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