Judge stalls company’s plans for oil, gas wells

By Chris Eversole

Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse on Monday issued a temporary restraining order that the City of Mustang sought in its lawsuit over plans for two oil and natural gas wells in the northwestern corner of the city.

Hesse scheduled a hearing for Dec. 20 to consider further actions on the lawsuit.

In its suit against Citizen Energy II of Tulsa, the city noted that the company had written a letter to city on Nov. 8 stating it intended to start drilling as soon as a rig was available without complying with the requirements of a conditional use permit.

The permits require the company to erect a 16-foot tall sound barrier around the perimeter of entire three acres of the drilling project, which will employ fracking.

In Monday’s hearing, company attorney Trevor Henson made the following arguments against the city’s request for the restraining order:

  • The city had not offered scientific evidence that the sound barrier would be more effective than noise abatement measures that Citizen Energy planned to use to be a “good neighbor.”
  • In its public hearing on the wells, they city didn’t give the company an adequate opportunity to present information about its noise abatement alternatives.
  • City commissioners had said during the hearing that they wanted to make the drilling of future oil and gas wells in the city so onerous that it would become unprofitable.

City Attorney Jonathan Miller disagreed.

“This is fairly simple from the city’s perspective,” Miller said.

The city has the authority to set conditions for oil and gas drilling in the city – both under its ordinances and through its general policing powers, he said.

The company had notified the city it did not intend to comply with its conditions.

Judge Hesse commented: “It’s not my job to second-guess the city council.”

Miller then suggested that the judge should disregard the company’s request that he consider comments of individual council members.

Company attorney Henson countered that the council members’ comments provide a context for the council’s vote.

“The mayor and the council are against the oil and gas industry,” he said.

Since the vote on the Citizen Energy wells, the council has approved a moratorium on future wells, he noted.

The city was being arbitrary and capricious since it did not require a noise barrier for the six existing wells in the same section of land, Henson said.

Miller countered: “We don’t know if the other wells were plugged in 1920.”

As the hearing wound down, Henson argued that the extensive wall the city wants is unreasonable – out of keeping with best practices.

The judge did not rule on this argument, but instead said he would issue the restraining order.

After the hearing, Miller and company attorneys – who had acknowledged during the hearing that they had engaged in discussions of a settlement – continued talking inside the empty courtroom.

1 Comment

  1. Calvin Duffey on December 14, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Citizens had plenty of opportunities to talk at the planning meetings but they chose to sit back and say nothing. I asked them more than a few times why they want to put 2 wells so close to my house and they said nothing. The companies have been going up and down Frisco not obeying the laws and rules they have no intentions of going by the laws . The companies have been spreading dust and dirt and on windy days it’s so bad you can’t stand out there and I have 5 horses and one of had gotten sick from the dust. Citizen’s is well aware of what’s going on there I have called the city of mustang several times . I called the corporation commission and she told me they were going to put 8 more wells on that property. The corporation commission said there is nothing I could do and the government took away any power from the city’s. WHO WOULD WANT OIL WELLS IN THEIR BACK YARD? Go out to Gregory road and 59th in union city and see what’s happening out there. Thank you

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