DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Angry shouts disrupted a Dallas City Plan Commission meeting today when a controversial natural gas fracking project killed weeks ago was reintroduced. The protests actually forced a recess of the meeting. The coalition of environmental and homeowner groups felt they had no say in the matter and felt they were undone by a legal trick.
"Shame, shame, shame," they cried at one time and held up handmade signs with the word "shame" written on them.
"It's a sham; it's a complete farce," said Zac Trahan, who admits the protest was organized after fracking opponents learned a parliamentary maneuver would allow the Plan Commission to revisit a fracking vote that was originally defeated.
"They put this back on the agenda knowing there were two people who voted for it last time who couldn't be here today, and if you noticed that final vote: 6-5? Well, that would have been 7-6 if those two people had been here."
The issue involves a controversial natural gas recovery system called hydraulic fracturing, nicknamed fracking. It would be used in the L.B. Houston sports complex near the Dallas border with Irving.
Gas companies have paid for prospective leases there and across the city, but Dallas has not yet issued any drilling permits. The Plan Commission is part of that process.
Opponents say these proposed sites are in a park and flood plain, and too close to a local school. A newly-discovered map shows additional plans to put large gas processing plant across the street.
"It's not meant to process just the gas that's onsite, it has a network of pipelines that's going to bring gas in from other areas. It's a very large facility with large emissions, " according to Cherelle Blazer, who is a chemist and environmentalist who served as a volunteer on the city's natural gas drilling task force.
Because of the nature of parliamentary maneuvers, there was no public input on today's motion to revisit the issue. The man who seconded the motion promised that would not happen again.
"I'm not comfortable with us reconsidering this and then not having some sort of public comment," said John Shellene, who added, "or having all of our commissioners here to vote on this."
The proposal will be reheard February 7th, this time with public comment. Any action taken would still have to pass the full Dallas City Council.
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