Saturday, July 17, 2010
Forage pour gaz naturel: un cauchemar près de chez nous
Je lis cette histoire d'un petit village divisé en deux par l'exploitation du gaz naturel, et j'ai peur de voir ce scénario se reproduire partout dans la vallée du Saint-Laurent dans un prochain avenir.
Un propriétaire terrien agricole veut profiter de la manne promise par l'exploitation du gaz naturel. Il pourrait aboutir avec 20 puits à la place de ses 20 bovins, quelques chevaux et un âne qui broutent dans un champ parsemé de broussaille et quelques arbres.
Mais le paysage a changé depuis quelques générations: la route de terre est maintenant pavée et dessert 40,000 autos par jour. Deux écoles sont au sud-est de la propriété. À l'ouest du champ, une rangée de maisons de briques. La ville n'a pas accordé son permis au propriétaire: il doit faire quelques ajustements pour être légal mais il s'empresse de les faire. Il a démoli un hangar, coupé quelques arbres et colmatera le puits artésien qui lui fournissait l'eau potable de sa famille depuis des années. Il s'arrange pour que le forage s'éloigne d'un milieu humide et s'approche de la route.
Une fois tous les changements requis par la mucipalité seront complétés, la ville n'aura pas le choix que de lui donner son permis pour commencer le forage. Si la ville lui refuse son permis, il promet d'actionner la ville: il considère qu'il a le droit de faire ce qui est légal sur sa propriété.
Un regard sur ce que l'avenir nour réserve...
"Flower Mound natural gas drilling plan pits property owners against residents
A 90-acre pasture along a busy roadway has become the latest battleground in the fight over natural gas drilling in Flower Mound. A proposal to put a gas drilling pad on the site is pitting property owners' rights against some residents' concern for public health and safety. The site could accommodate up to 20 wells.
Residents who oppose drilling on the site say the location is too close to homes and schools. The property, jointly owned by Hilliard and his sister, J.R. Martin of Lewisville, has changed little over the years. About 20 head of cattle, a couple of horses and a donkey roam the open field dotted with brush and trees. While the Hilliard land retains its rural character, the surrounding property has changed dramatically.
FM2499, which used to be a dirt road where Hilliard and Martin caught the school bus, is now busy Long Prairie Road traveled daily by 40,000 motorists. Shadow Ridge Middle School and Bluebonnet Elementary School are southeast of the property. The west side of Long Prairie Road is filled with rows of tidy brick homes.
Gas wells are a common site in the rural part of western Flower Mound that stretches toward Interstate 35W. But many residents feel the eastern part of town – more densely occupied with homes, churches, schools and stores – is no place for gas drilling. Residents packed a recent Flower Mound Oil and Gas Board of Appeals meeting to oppose Titan Operating's request for four variances needed to put a pad site on the Hilliard property. They expressed concern about noise, increased truck traffic and the impact on home values. They voiced fears about air emissions from drilling, leaks from underground pipes, and the possibility of an explosion at a site so close to schools and homes.
After the gas and oil board denied Titan's request, Hilliard has been busy making changes to his property to meet the town's regulations. He's torn down a storage shed, removed some trees, and plans to seal off an artesian well that's supplied the family's water for years. Hilliard also plans to move the proposed gas pad so it would be farther away from a drainage area. Instead of being behind a row of trees, the new location would be in an open field closer to the busy roadway. "I've tried to do what's best for everybody and got so much resistance," he said defiantly. "Now I'm going to do what's legal."
Once his well is capped, Hilliard said, he will have met all the town's regulations and sees no reason for his drilling permit application to be denied. Town officials have said they would have no choice but to approve it if all requirements are met. But concerned residents said the town can deny Hilliard's application to protect the health, safety and character of the community. If that happens, Hilliard and his sister vow to take legal action to drill for gas on their land. "It's our birthright and our inheritance," Martin said. "We don't want anything that's not ours, but we want everything that is.""
Excerpts from article written by Wendy Hundley from The Dallas Morning News published here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/071010dnmetgaswell.1a59b92.html
A glimpse into the future. I'm afraid this is going to happen in many little towns and villages all across the Saint-Lawrence Valley, including Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu just downriver, where they are waiting for the verdict from one last permit required to allow drilling on prime agricultural land, near homes and a daycare center.