In an effort to protect one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s major water supplies, a Flower Mound town panel voted against a variance request from Keystone Energy to allow drilling for natural gas within 500 feet of Lake Grapevine.  We have been following this story very closely since we are very frequent users of Lake Grapevine and its parks and trails.

The interesting thing is that the denial to drill right on (200 or so feet) the northern edge of the lake comes within a day or so of the first two known lawsuits for contaminated water supplies on the Barnett Shale.  Those two law suits claim natural glass drilling has already contaminated water supplies in the area.

From this great article in the Dallas Observer Blog, we note two of the complaints from the lawsuits.

According to that complaint, Grace Mitchell’s ground water became contaminated “soon after” those companies began drilling and fracking near her property in Johnson County. (The Star-Telegram reports it’s actually in Tarrant County.) Says the suit, Mitchell “can no longer use the water from her own well for consumption, bathing, or washing clothes because in approximately May 2010, the well water started to feel slick to the touch and give off an oily, gasoline-like odor.” Tests showed the water was laced with “various chemicals, including C-12-C28 hydrocarbons, similar to diesel fuel,” the suit says.

The other suit, alleges ground water pollution beginning “approximately in April 2008, [when] their ground water became polluted with a gray sediment,” which tests revealed contained a laundry list of heavy metals.

Now, we are not experts in the natural gas drilling arena, but the above law suits do not paint a very pretty picture of the results of natural gas drilling.

In a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article, the CEO of Keystone energy pointed out that they are trying to protect their investment.

Fort Worth-based Keystone may appeal the decision to a state district court, company President Tom Blanton said. “It’s either file a lawsuit or fold up on millions of dollars,” he said. “We do have to protect our investment. … It’s a crying shame it’s set up that way.”

Let’s hope somewhere the quote was missed or not printed where the CEO might have said he is also interested in protecting Lake Grapevine.

It is safe to say we are happy today that the drilling request was denied and we hope that the protection of Lake Grapevine continues.  In our eyes, drilling right next to the lake is the equivalent of having a backyard cookout and deciding to place your grill on the diving board of your own pool.  Sure, you could grill there, buy why would you want to?