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Poth P&Z mulls oil-drilling rules
Audience members listen as Poth resident Roger Pollok addresses the Poth Planning and Zoning Commission during a May 8 public hearing.
POTH -- Ongoing petrochemical exploration within the Eagle Ford shale region continues to result in sizable paydays for area landowners. Because of this, the Poth Planning and Zoning Commission is considering an ordinance to regulate drilling for oil, natural gas, and minerals within the city limits, which was the subject of a May 8 public hearing.
The commission’s chairman, LeAnn Hosek, said the city does not have a draft ordinance written and that officials were reviewing one adopted by the Kenedy City Council.
“Our goal is when [drilling] is done in the city limits, it’s done in a way to minimize any threat to the public safety of our residents,” she said.
This did not stop several residents from speaking out at the hearing, urging the commission not to adopt a plan that would threaten their mineral rights.
“When you take some of that away, it’s like robbing our children’s wealth,” said Ben Wiatrek. “It’s stealing, in my opinion. What are you trying to take from us?”
John Pollok said that in cities without ordinances governing drilling, the practice is allowed as long as the procedures used comply with Texas Railroad Commission regulations. He suggested that the city continue with this practice.
The members of the commission voted unanimously to recommend that the city council schedule a workshop in June, so the matter can be discussed further.
Following the meeting, Poth Mayor Travis Pruski said there has been a lot of misinformation related to drilling within the city limits and that the matter still is in the discussion stage. The planning and zoning commission, he said, is attempting to address concerns, such as distance from homes, traffic on city streets, dust, gas flaring, and odor.
“The majority of land in Poth is residential zoned and there is no commercial activity -- including surface oil drilling -- allowed in residential-zoned properties,” Pruski said. “I clarify ‘surface,’ because we do not have any rules against horizontal drilling under the city, except within a state-regulated area near our water wells.”
The mayor also said he has spoken with representatives of two oil companies that hold leases in and around the city limits. Neither company has plans to drill within the city limits.
“They have some sites that will be drilled outside the city limits and drill horizontally towards the city limits,” he said.
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