On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council capped off years of debate between residents, council members, oil and gas advocates and environmentalists by passing one of the most restrictive natural gas drilling ordinances in North Texas’ Barnett Shale. The ordinance prohibits drilling within 1,500 feet of homes, schools, churches and other protected sites.
Dallas’ fracking fight came to a head over the past two years, when the city council considered granting Trinity East Energy permits to drill on unused city park land it had leased. Trinity had already forked over $19 million for the leases, which the city promptly spent, but officials played hot potato with the decision before a zoning body, the City Plan Commission, killed the drilling permits in March. One month earlier, a secret deal between City Manager Mary Suhm and Trinity East had surfaced, angering citizens and some city council members.