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Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Request

Oil and Gas
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2010/12/20 19:50:00 (3323 reads)
Oil and Gas

Open in new windowOpen in new windowAt a meeting of the Lewisville Local Government Corporation tonight, the board voted to protest natural gas operator Titan Operating's rule 37 exemption request with the Texas Railroad Commission. The board, consisting of the Mayor and four City Council members, also authorized the City Attorney to retain outside counsel to represent the city.

Titan had requested the rule 37 spacing exemption for numerous properties in Southern Lewisville in a strip just East of South Valley Parkway, South of Corporate Drive, extending through the Tom Thumb property along F.M. 3040. State rules set by the Texas Railroad Commission require that gas wells be drilled at least 330' from the property lines of un-leased mineral owners. But when operators get enough leases to get a majority of mineral rights, they can apply for an exception that allows drilling as close as 1 foot from a property line.

Opponents of rule 37 exemptions say that they basically allow gas operators to steal the property owner's natural gas without compensation.

As part of the rule 37 exception request, Titan had to file a list of property owners and the addresses they used when serving notice. The RRC also requires that the operator has made a good faith effort to lease the mineral rights.

In Titan's case, their RRC request's certificate of service lists the Lewisville property under the water tower at the corner of Valley Parkway and Cassion as being served to "City of Lewisville, S. Valley Pkwy." The correct address to send to would have been Lewisville City Hall. City officials were unaware of the pending action until an alert resident notified them last week.

Other mailing addresses listed in the certificate of service did not match the owner of record's mailing address as listed in Denton County tax records. According to state records, Lewisville resident Mark Fukuda, another owner on the service list filed a protest to the request on December 12th. The city and other residents on the list have until December 30th to file a protest.

Lewisville's mineral rights were transferred in 2004 to the Lewisville Local Government Corporation, a non-profit local government corporation formed to deal with mineral rights leasing for city property. The LGC will pay for the legal costs of fighting the rule 37 exception.

As far as we can tell, the RRC has not set a hearing date, but we'll update this if we find out when it is.

Update: Attached the City of Lewisville's protest.

Update 12/29/2010:
The RRC has updated the protest deadline to January 19th, since some of the notices given by Titan were mailed to incorrect addresses.

Randall's Food and Drug (Owner of Tom Thumb) has also filed a protest.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2010/12/20 22:24  Updated: 2010/12/21 1:27
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
In appreciation for being given variances to Lewisville's ordinances for another Titan well, this is the thanks the city gets. I wish that the City Council would have the courage to deny any future variances to its ordinances. It seems that all the city's efforts to avoid a lawsuit have been futile, and they are headed to court anyway. My thought is, if you are going to have to sue or be sued anyway, at LEAST do what is best for the residents of Lewisville. NO variances -- go to court if necessary.
Reply

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2010/12/21 12:31  Updated: 2010/12/21 12:39
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
The city needs to make sure to hire an attorney who has argued in front of the RRC before otherwise the RRC will just turn a deaf ear (of course, they will probably do that anyway).

No prizes as to who the "alert resident" was, are you being modest Steve?
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2010/12/21 22:37  Updated: 2010/12/21 22:37
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 4086
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
It wasn't me. Honestly, I didn't at first think there was any way that the city would have not known about this, since they meet with Titan regarding Titan's pending permits on an ongoing basis. I don't think Titan did themselves any favors with this.
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Poster Thread
bullbuster
Posted: 2010/12/22 22:21  Updated: 2010/12/22 22:25
Registered User (Unverified)
Joined: 2010/3/4
From:
Posts: 20
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
Are you kidding me? The campaigns of the RRC commissioners are funded primarily by the oil and gas industry. The mission of the RRC is to regulate and PROMOTE the oil and gas industry in Texas. Commissioner Victor Carillos' campaign flyer that I received in October was emblazoned with the slogan "Drill here! Drill now!". Pardon me for my cynicism but I believe the likelihood of anyone other than the gas and oil interests getting a favorable outcome from the RRC is slim to none.
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2010/12/23 19:51  Updated: 2010/12/23 19:51
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 4086
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
Amen.
Reply

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2010/12/21 12:35  Updated: 2010/12/21 12:39
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
One other thing, even though if protestants want to file their protest they should get it in by the 30th, it is a RRC policy that once at least 1 party files a protest, they will take new protestants right up until the actual hearing date.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2010/12/28 18:46  Updated: 2010/12/28 22:06
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
If I wanted to protest, how would I file and where?
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2010/12/28 22:11  Updated: 2010/12/28 22:11
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 4086
 Re: Lewisville to Fight Titan's Rule 37 Exemption Re...
Standard disclaimer applies here: I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not qualified to give legal advice, but as I understand it, you need to have legal status in the case, meaning that you're one of the property owners involved.

This letter from the Railroad Commission should explain the process.

The deadline for this case is December 30th, so you're running out of time according to the letter. On the other hand, since there are other protests, I've heard they'll continue to accept protests until the hearing.
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