Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Costs of Fracking

The industry keeps trying to pretend that fracking is a big economic benefit to Denton. I used their own numbers to show how that just isn't so. In fact, the benefits are so puny that they are easily outweighed by all the costs associated with fracking. I spoke to some of those costs in an earlier post.

We can now get a peek at some more costs as outlined by the City of Denton in the draft of its new comprehensive plan. Not all of the costs identified in the comprehensive plan relate directly to hydraulic fracturing, but then again the industry's report about benefits rolled in so many economic multipliers that it strayed way far afield from direct economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

What we see in the comprehensive plan is just how much frack sites are going to be a drag on our future - they are going to increase the costs of Denton's development significantly. And they are going to significantly reduce the revenues that could otherwise be provided from more productive and sustainable land uses.

If you want tot do a real cost-benefit assessment (and not a cartoon, biased industry sham with a foregone conclusion), then here are just a few of the things you'd need to think about (from the comprehensive plan draft, pp. 46-48):

"• Future development costs for structures, new roadways, and utility extensions near gas wells, oil wells, and pipelines may incur unforeseen expenses due to the potential need to develop around Drilling and Production Sites or pipelines, relocate or bore utilities around existing pipelines, perform environmental testing if the property is identified as a prior Drilling and Production Site, or clean up and mitigate contaminated, inactive sites.

• There are a significant number of gas wells in Denton and its ETJ, mainly west of I-35. Structures cannot be built over a plugged well and building siting must follow Fire Code requirements to locate in the vicinity of an active well



• Since vertical construction cannot occur in a pipeline easement, future development potential is severely limited near pipelines...



• The operations performed at Drilling and Production Sites require heavy vehicle traffic to support the various activities. The increase in vehicle traffic can adversely impact associated roadways and traffic patterns around the Drilling and Production Sites. Dirt, dust, and debris associated with drilling and production activities can produce localized adverse effects which could make new development near them undesirable and unlikely.


While…setbacks serve to reduce risks to public safety, they also impact development and compromise land use efficiency. [This is exacerbated by] the wide scattering of isolated well sites throughout much of the western portion of Denton…

While regulations were enacted in 2010 to limit gas well development plats to a maximum of five (5) acres, a number of pre-existing platted production sites exceed one hundred (100) acres and even include residential and other protected uses within drilling and production site boundaries. Thus, development of adjacent properties for residential and other protected uses is restricted by the application of setbacks to these non-drilling sites, regardless of proximity to well locations."




  1. Hey Adam,
    I was researching the fracking in Denton, as I received a flyer on my door today. (We live in Marshall Ranch subdivision off of 380 near Masch Branch rd.) Do you know where/whom I can contact, or send a letter against fracking? (I believe there is a net site now off of Masch Branch and 380.)

    We moved here a year ago, and since the large trucks going off and on Cindy ln. , not only have the trucks destroyed the road in our neighborhood, about the same time the large drill down the street was put in, I have had athsma wheezing every day. I am 27, so I know this isn't child/ teen asthma but an irritant in the air. I now have been taking an emergency inhaler and steroids every day, and the medications aren't stopping whatever is making me wheeze. Thanks!


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