RIG VOTE IN LEAGUE CITY League City’s city council voted last night to double the minimum distance oil and gas rigs must keep back from most buildings, including homes. The new requirement is 600 ft., though some residents of the Magnolia Creek subdivision — right next door to one of 2 proposed new drilling sites in the city — had hoped to get a 1000-ft. buffer approved. [abc13; more info; previously on Swamplot] Photo: abc13
Residents of the Magnolia Creek subdivision in League City are protesting plans by developer Lynn Watkins to drill for oil and natural gas on a 3-acre site next to a daycare center near the corner of League City Parkway and Bay Area Blvd. To gain the drilling permits, Watkins would need to rezone the land to light industrial. Abc13’s Kevin Quinn reports:
Those who purchased homes say they were told the land is zoned as commercial. They expected a strip mall of some sort to be built here — not a drilling rig that stands 131 feet tall. Dozens of homeowners have signed a petition asking the city not to grant the special use permit the developer seeks. . . .
[Watkins] insists there would be minimal impact to the surrounding neighborhood and schools.
Additional traffic, he insists, would be less than that coming and going from a home being built in the neighborhood. He says also of the 400,000 operational wells across the state, there have been only 900 blowouts in the past 30 years. Those, he says, resulted in 131 injuries and nine deaths.
“In that same period, there’s been 90,000 traffic deaths on Texas highways in that same period,” Watkins said.
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HOUSTON’S NATURAL GAS PARKS Isn’t it about time this city got back to basics? A company called Southern Star Exploration will soon be setting up drilling rigs outside 3 city parks and a city service center in northeast Houston. Yesterday city council approved a 3-year oil and gas lease to let the company explore possible reserves under Herman Brown Park, Maxey Park, Brock Park, and a public works facility on McCarty Rd. What’s in it for the city? $200,000 for the lease, plus a promised 25 percent of any royalties. Mayor Parker says she doesn’t want drilling rigs set up on city property, but she’ll “look for more opportunities” for horizontal or slant drilling to get at what lies beneath. [abc13] Photo of Herman Brown Park: Gulf Coast Bird Observatory