By Chris Eversole
The lawsuit that the city of Mustang brought over two proposed oil and gas wells in the city appears to be moving toward a settlement.
Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse on Wednesday directed Citizen Energy II to submit additional evidence by Dec. 27, and he said he would rule on the case by Dec. 30.
The Mustang City Council scheduled a special meeting for 3:30 p.m. Friday to discuss a proposed settlement of the case in executive session.
A hearing on the case was scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, but instead of hearing arguments in the courtroom, Hesse met for an hour in private with attorneys from both side.
He then summarized the case in open court.
The only remaining issue is the city council’s requirement that the company build a 16-foot-tall noise barrier around the entire project site, Hesse said.
Citizen plans to use high-quality mufflers on its equipment, which will be more effective in reducing noise than sound barriers, company representative Curtis Johnson has said previously.
After Hesse left the courtroom Wednesday, City Attorney Jonathan Miller asked company attorneys to provide him with specific details about how the company’s proposed noise abatement goes beyond industry practices.
The council approved the well project Nov. 9 following public hearings at which residents pleaded with it to block the wells.
Mayor Jay Adams told protesting residents: “It’s a bitter pill you’ve got to swallow.”
The bitter pill is that state law prevents the city from stopping Citizen.
The council does have some power – to set some conditions on the drilling and well operation.
The conditions the council employed in this case require that the company do the following:
- Install the sound barrier;
- Repair road damage from company trucks;
- Keep its trucks on state highways expect for the last half mile to the site.
Hesse on Wednesday noted that the company agreed with the requirement about the trucks.
He also reassured the company that it would not be required to pay for road damage it did not cause.