About Air and Water

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Residents oppose UTA gas drilling

By JOHN AUSTIN - Star-Telegram staff writer - Sat, Jun. 16, 2007

Drilling dispute ARLINGTON -- Everybody in North Texas, it seems, wants a piece of the region's red-hot gas-well action these days.

Everybody, that is, but Linda Yarbrough and her neighbors near the University of Texas at Arlington's Maverick Stadium on the west side of campus.

UT-Arlington officials signed a deal this spring to allow on-campus drilling. Seismic work has been delayed by heavy spring rains, but should begin this month according to John Hall, UT-Arlington's vice president for finance and administration.

Drilling sites have not been announced. Up to five potential drilling sites have been identified, but there has been no decision about how many wells will be drilled, Hall said.

University officials' plans to discuss the deal with residents near campus don't make Yarbrough feel any better.

Yarbrough moved to 1300 W. Second St. 14 years ago. Her neighborhood, Vellenga Acres, includes about 80 houses on large, heavily wooded lots.

"It would ordinarily be an ideal neighborhood," Yarbrough said, adding that she doesn't want to be anywhere near a gas well.

What's new?

City and university officials met last week to discuss the planned gas well. Yarbrough estimated that about 100 residents attended.

City Councilwoman Lana Wolff said a public meeting with residents is expected in early August, after Carrizo Oil conducts seismological studies and decides on well locations, pipelines and truck routes.

The university has posted questions and answers about the deal under the "Official Statements" section of its Web site, www.uta.edu.

The posting states that the final site "will also be chosen to minimize the level of peripheral noise to campus and community residents."

As a state university, UT-Arlington is not subject to city ordinances stipulating the distance or buffers between a rig and residences. But on its Web site, the university said its practice is to "meet or exceed all relevant city ordinances." Drilling is expected to last 30 to 45 days, according to the site, and after that time "there is virtually no noise or risk."

What's next?

Yarbrough plans to be at Tuesday's City Council meeting, along with neighbors, to underscore what they believe to be potential problems. On Friday, she sent a letter to Mayor Robert Cluck and City Council members calling for strengthened urban gas-drilling rules.

Among her recommendations:

Restrictions on hours of operation

1000-foot proximity limits between property lines and drilling sites

Mandatory, 24-hour on-site security

Online: www.uta.edu

See Map in Star Telegram

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Travel to other worlds ... UTA Planetarium

Immersive full-dome 3-D Digital planetarium show narrated by Ewan McGregor (Obi wan Kepobi from Star Wars) - Astronaut takes you exporing the worlds of inner and outer space. The movie is projected all around you. You recline in specially constructed chairs which enables you to comfortably view the immersive full-dome planetarium show. Astronaut! (produced from the National Space Centre in England) goes beyond the stereotypical space movie. Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of the astronaut. Float around the international Space Station moving thorugh the microscopic regions of the human body! Discover the beauty and perils as "Chad", the test astronaut experiences everything thrown at him.

Summer Schedule (June 2-August 26):


shows at the UTA Planetarium.

Wed. through Saturdays at 11 a.m.
and Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Cosmic CSI

shows at the UTA Planetarium 3-D Digital Dome.

Wed. through Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Rock Hall of Fame 1 (The Original)

shows at the UTA Planetarium.

Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

Read more (Warning their flat dull website doesn't give much of a glimmer of the multi-dimensional experience you'll have once you enter the dome of the UTA Planetarium!)

Admission: Adults: $5.00

Seniors, Students, Children: $4.00

UTA Faculty, Staff & Alumni (with ID): $3.00

UTA Studens (with ID): $2.00

Groups of 10 or more with reservation: $3.00

Call 817 272-1183 or e-mail planetarium@uta.edu