GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) - A professional river guide and an avid canoeist, Marc McCord lives for the water. "To me, it feels like I'm in heaven. It's the most serene, calm place I ever am in my life."
For him, a strong warning by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about possible "catastrophic dam failure" at Joe Pool Lake seems very realistic. "I think it's absolutely appropriate. And I think it's long overdue."
The cause for the concern is a natural gas drill site operated by Chesapeake Energy roughly 500 feet from the dam.
McCord, in fact, says he called the Corps back in September - to ask if it was safe for Chesapeake to be drilling so close. "They said they were unaware of how close it was to the dam."
Chesapeake says the dam is closer to 1,000 feet to the north of the dam, and does not go under it. A full statement from Chesapeake is below.
A dam failure, though, would flood more than just the city of Grand Prairie - to whom the Corps of Engineers letter was addressed.
Part of this dam - we discovered - is in Dallas, as well.
In its letter, the Corps said it planned to contact city leaders there, but a Dallas spokesperson told us, it never got the same drastic warning letter Grand Prairie did.
Still, Dallas City Council member Scott Griggs said the city is aware of the Corps' concern - and actively addressing it. "Certainly the distance that drilling and hydraulic fracturing should be permitted to occur from levis and dams is a critical question we're
Dallas currently has a task force overhauling the city ordinances on drilling. For now, no permits being given. Until it reviews analysis.
Late Thursday Chesapeake sent an email to CBS 11 with a statement, which read:
We drilled one well at the Corn Valley site last November, and fracked it last
January. Our site is about a thousand feet north of the dam. The wellbore goes
west/northwest As you know, it's a mile-and-a-half underground. It does not go
under the dam. We have permits in hand to drill 4 more. None of them would go
under the dam either.
The Corps sent a request to us on February 18, 2011, asking for a voluntary delay on
drilling additional wells so they could "study" the issue. We have complied with
their delay. They have provided no evidence or even additional allegations of
potential degradation of their dams. We understand the Corps also sent a letter
to Grand Prairie in February, asking the city to declare a six-month moratorium
on drilling and fracturing activities. We're unsure why the city chose to take
action at this late date, or frankly, why they chose to take action at all,
since more than the requested six months have passed. We had planned to resume
drilling in December.
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