Proposed City of Midland Oil & Gas Drilling Ordinance - Changes

The Midland City Council has reworked the proposed oil and gas drilling ordinance submitted by the task force and, as expected, the new version is much more industry-friendly. But, I'll let you judge that for yourself. The following documents are in PDF format:

  • The original proposed ordinance submitted by the task force

  • The revised ordinance as edited by the city council

  • A marked-up version (using Word's Compare Documents feature) highlighting the changes. The red underscores indicate new or replacement wording; the strike-throughs indicate where language from the original proposal was deleted. I apologize in advance for the funky line spacing in this document; it results from the conversion of the PDF text to Word and back again.
Many of the changes to the original serve to dilute the attempts to make oil and gas development less obtrusive or more cosmetically consistent with surrounding neighborhoods. For example, the requirement for an 8' stone or block wall was removed (replaced with the ever-classy chain link with beige aluminum slats fence) as was the requirement that low-profile tanks be used.

Also, in the original proposal, underground electrical lines were required; now, they are not required unless the surrounding neighborhood already has them. Tanks are no longer required to be set on concrete foundations. Heaven forbid that an oil and gas development might actually be required to improve the look of a neighborhood, or that city standards might go beyond minimum state requirements.

As I stated in my previous post, some of the provisions in the original proposal were overreaching and did expose the city to unnecessary legal risk. To the extent those things have been removed or mitigated, the revised ordinance is an improvement. It's unfortunate, however, that oil and gas developers are apparently unwilling to do more than the absolute minimum to fit in with the orderly development of our city.

I believe that oil and gas operations within the city limits should be held to a higher standard than those outside the city's jurisdiction. The revised ordinance doesn't seem to move very far in that direction.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on October 29, 2009 8:44 AM.

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