Thursday, September 6, 2012

City Council to Consider Status of Moratorium

The meeting is scheduled for Denton City Council to consider the variance request by EagleRidge, Inc. (for four wells). They will hold a public meeting on September 11, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 215 E. McKinney Street, Denton, Texas 76201. Please show up and stay involved.

I think it is clear that a majority (if not everyone) on City Council would rather not grant a variance to the moratorium. Indeed, they are the ones who passed the moratorium unanimously (and extended it - as they are likely to do again at this meeting). So, the question is not about the values and priorities of City Council. If the variance is granted (or, what amounts to much the same, the moratorium is extended with exemptions for these four wells) it will not be because City Council wants more drilling or wants to reward EagleRidge. Far from it. Rather, if the variance is granted it will be because City Council is in a legal bind and faces a lawsuit that may well create a bad precedent for similar situations in the future.

We need to see if there are creative ways to force EagleRidge to bide their time and follow the rules like everyone else. But if this is not possible, we need to be very careful not to demonize elected officials who find themselves between a rock (grant an obviously unpalatable variance) and a hard place (face a lawsuit that might long haunt municipalities).

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