Laredo Energy got its way yesterday when city council approved two permits for oil and gas drilling within city limits. Residents of the Green Ranch subdivision, however, don't agree with the decision.
Drilling activity will occur about 2,500 feet from Green Ranch homes. Worries on the part of private citizens include: traffic congestion, noise, air quality deterioration, property values sinking and accidents.
Laredo Energy officials were dumbfounded by the opposition they met for this endeavor. For them it was a first. Never had they encountered such resistance when they tried to go on about the business of drilling for natural resources.
Those that don't live in the Green Ranch area, or are local environmentalists, didn't see what the problem was with drill within the city limits. They pointed to the other wells already present throughout Laredo. At a recent town hall meeting, Tricia Cortez (RGISC) noted that wells already up and running in the city were installed decades ago. Since then, fracking techniques have evolved and so have the consequences.
Governor Abbot recently signed into law HB 40, which bans any municipality from instituting fracking restrictions. Naturally, our representatives voted for the measure. It's no surprise, really, when our esteemed senator, Judith Zaffirini, is a member of the Eagle Ford Shale Legislative Caucus. Ironically enough, the texting-while-driving ban that Zaffirini hoped to pass this time around didn't get anywhere
The fracking discussion in Laredo started about four years ago. At a town hall meeting held at the UT satellite campus, I remember Richard Raymond condescending to those who were concerned about the ill effects of hydraulic fracturing. Now here we are in 2015 and drilling is literally in our backyard and residents are worried.
To get a sense of how our elected officials think in regards to the Eagle Ford Shale, check out this video from 2011 where our then-mayor Raul Salinas champions nothing but the jobs that the oil and gas industry will bring. Never once did he say anything about the environment or a risk to people's health. He wasn't a smart man. All he cared about was his legacy and his photo ops.