Alan Septoff, Earthworks, 202-271-2355; Ranjana Bhandari, Liveable Arlington
Arlington, TX — Today Earthworks, a national environmental nonprofit, sent a letter to the Arlington City Council notifying them that as of June 4, French energy giant Total had not properly complied with Arlington’s Gas Development & Production (GD&P) Ordinance.
“If Total were to comply with the law and properly notify the community, they would learn how much community opposition their facilities have generated,” said Earthworks Senior Policy Counsel Aaron Mintzes and letter author. He continued, “The City Council should not permit Total’s proposal until they have done so.”
Arlington’s ordinance requires that Total host a public hearing and provide notice by mail to affected property owners. Instead, Total posted the event on a website with limited audience in the affected community and held a January 22, 2020, public hearing which no community members attended. Liveable Arlington canvassed neighborhood apartment residents, managers and church worshipers and nobody had received a notice. The Council is scheduled to hold a hearing on June 9 to decide whether to permit Total’s gas well within a few hundred feet of a preschool.
The host neighborhood has a 27% poverty rate and is majority Latino, and suffers disproportionately from COVID with more than 2 times as many cases per capita as the rest of Arlington. Recent research shows that those exposed to air pollution are linked to higher coronavirus death rates. And yesterday another study confirmed that living in proximity to oil and gas wells is linked with fetal defects and low birth weights.
“Permitting fracking here would further endanger a community already suffering from injustice,” said Liveable Arlington Director Ranjana Bhandari. She continued, “People know that fracking pollutes and that pollution is dangerous, which might be why Total didn’t properly notify the community, the community doesn’t want this fracking well.”