Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Fort Worth forum likely to spur questions on Lake Arlington injection well

A boater zooms across the lake near Richard Simpson Park. A proposal to put in a salt water injection well near Lake Arlington is causing a stir. Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton will be at a public forum in Fort Worth this week to discuss the agency’s processes, but not the permit itself.
A boater zooms across the lake near Richard Simpson Park. A proposal to put in a salt water injection well near Lake Arlington is causing a stir. Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton will be at a public forum in Fort Worth this week to discuss the agency’s processes, but not the permit itself. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

During a community forum on wastewater injection wells in east Fort Worth this week, there will be an elephant in the room: the proposed injection well near Lake Arlington.

Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton will appear Thursday at the event at a community center not far from where the well would be drilled if approved by the state. The flier says the forum will be about the “application process for injection wells in Texas.”

But if anyone asks a specific question about the Lake Arlington injection well permit, Sitton said he won’t be providing any detailed answers because that would be like a judge “sticking his nose into the specifics of a case” before hearing it. Ryan’s goal is to try to calm people’s fears without drilling into the details.

“Once people have a good understanding of everything we do, they have a good feeling for the Railroad Commission and its regulations,” Sitton said.

The forum is being coordinated by state Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth. Collier did not return our phone calls seeking comment. But Fort Worth City Councilwoman Gyna Bivens said that the Lake Arlington project will clearly be on people’s minds.

“Of course, it will be the elephant in the room and I know that is the reason he is coming,” Bivens said. “I didn’t have any expectation that anyone would be coming prior to the hearing. … My main concern is that the people in the area know the process and procedures and what impact they may have.”

For those of you who don’t remember, BlueStone Natural Resources II filed a permit application to drill a saltwater injection well in far eastern Fort Worth near the shores of Lake Arlington.

The well would be used to collect excess gas and brackish, or salty, water produced by the company’s other natural gas wells in the immediate area. The company has said that its permit meets the strict guidelines established by the state for a wastewater injection well.

Fort Worth, Arlington, the Trinity River Authority, other cities and numerous residents have filed protest letters with the commission saying that the well not only threatens water quality, but jeopardizes the structural integrity of the dam. Injection wells have been linked to seismic activity.

An administrative law judge will hear the case on May 24-25. The judge will make a recommendation to the commission, which will ultimately decide if the permit is granted.

BlueStone’s application also is considered one of the first direct challenges to HB 40, a law adopted two years ago giving the state primary control over oil and gas activity. Specifically, bans on saltwater injection wells enacted by Fort Worth, Arlington and other cities may come under scrutiny because of the case.

The forum will be at the Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St., from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Big award for Arlington Realtor

Coy Garrett, a long-time real estate broker in Arlington who put together the deal that will convert the old Six Flags Mall property into a new industrial development, was honored earlier this year with the William C. Jennings Award from the Texas Association of Realtors.

The award, named after a long-time commercial broker from Fort Worth who launched an agency bearing his name, was presented at the state group’s winter meeting in Austin on Feb. 13.

Garrett spent four years negotiating and accumulating property at and near the former mall site for Missouri-based Northpoint Development, which plans a nearly 1.4 million-square-foot industrial complex that could employ roughly 2,000 people.

In his application for the award, Garrett called it the “deal of a lifetime.” The Six Flags Mall site was chosen because of improvements being made to Highway 360 and I-30, as well as proximity to Highway 161, I-20 and a rail line.

Bobbie Johnson, chairman of the Arlington Board of Realtors, said it marks the first time a real estate broker from Arlington has won the Jennings award. “As an association, we are very proud of the transaction Coy coordinated and the benefits it will bring to Arlington and the surrounding communities.”

Meanwhile, the Cinemark Tinseltown 9 movie theater, which remained open as other parts of the old mall were being demolished and which then sued the developer for disrupting its business, has since closed.

Facebook donates laptops

Facebook, which is building a massive data center campus in the Alliance corridor in far north Fort Worth, has donated laptops valued at more than $100,000 to the city for its community centers.

The City Council recently gave the OK to accept 60 Apple MacBook Pro laptops, worth an estimated $101,190. The city said 18 community centers will receive three laptops each and three centers will receive two laptops each.

Facebook began building data centers in north Fort Worth in July 2015, and by December said it would triple the size of the complex with its investment in Fort Worth to reach more than $1 billion. Facebook will now build five buildings totaling 2.5 million square feet of space.

Nearly two years ago, the City Council approved a 20-year, $146.7 million incentive package for the project. Sandra Baker

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko

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