Debate rages over drilling in League City

February 14, 2011 11:53:11 AM PST
There's a dispute over oil and gas drilling in League City. City leaders are looking at tweaking an ordinance now that a developer is being allowed to drill, despite protests of people who live nearby. Beside manicured hike and bike trails along League City Parkway is some of the remaining untamed acreage in a master-planned community. But it's caught some interest, not as a bit of wilderness, but for what may lie beneath the land -- oil, gas or perhaps both.

"I think we're right on the brink of Texas trying to figure out what that line is," said homeowner Jennifer Dippel. "Where is it OK. Where's close. Where's far enough away to make people comfortable and make people safe. I think that's important.

Dippel and Anita White live in Magnolia Creek, a community that neighbors one proposed drilling site.

In eastern League City, there's another proposed project that neighbors fewer homes, but makes for two potential exploratory rigs in a growing community.

The city is proposing creating a bigger buffer zone between homes and any rigs, plus noise restrictions, though there's only so much a city can do.

"You have to give them access to their mineral rights," said League City Manager Marcus Jahns. "That's what we're trying to do with this new ordinance. We're trying to put in place regulations that are more stringent than ever existed before."

This time, though, there are more homeowners with whom to deal.

"It's Texas. We believe in oil and gas and it supports a lot of the homeowners around here. That's not the issue," said White. "We don't want it in our neighborhood."

League City City Council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday evening about the proposed revision to its drilling ordinance.