Council reverses gas drilling vote

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by A.C. Hall

In a specially called Council meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the White Settlement City Council reconsidered its position on a permit application from Chesapeake to drill six new wells in the city.  This item was discussed previously on May 13, where council voted against allowing the new drilling by a vote of 2 to 3.  Council members Mike Arnold, Gene Hatcher, and Steve Ott voted against the issue at that time.

The reason this item returned to the agenda after being voted down was due to a request by Arnold, who spoke about his reasons for wanting to consider it again.

“I just felt like I made a mistake the other night and I wanted to correct it by bringing this forward and letting them have a revote,” Arnold said.

Council member Danny Anderson questioned the City Attorney about the existence of a waiting period that might restrict Chesapeake from trying for the permits again so quickly.  He was told that no such waiting period exists in the City’s ordinance.

A motion was then made to approve the six drilling permits, with Arnold seconding that motion.  That motion passed unanimously, as not only Arnold changed his May 13 vote, but so did Hatcher and Ott.

Chesapeake Energy has wells on this site near Las Vegas Trail in White Settlement. (File Photo Grizzly Detail)
Chesapeake Energy has wells on this site near Las Vegas Trail in White Settlement. (File Photo Grizzly Detail)

At the May 13 meeting, Ott spoke out against new drilling for several minutes, going as far as trying to make a motion to place a moratorium against all new drilling in the city.

Ott gave no comments as to why his stance on drilling within the city has changed over the course of the past few weeks.  Hatcher did not comment on the reasons for his changed vote either.

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