Is Seismic Testing Safe?

An open letter to City Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks-

Dear Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks-

Some of my neighbors and I are very concerned about a massive seismic testing operation/experiment currently underway in our neighborhoods. Dawson Geophysical is a subcontractor for the private, for-profit companies, Chesapeake and XTO Energy, using public streets and ROW's to gather seismic data from a vast area.

They are also gathering this data from under private property for their own, for-profit uses. Many of us did not give permission for Dawson to gather this data from under our properties. You wrote in a message to the West Meadowbrook NA on July 8 that, quote, "If a City property has not been leased, no seismic testing is allowed." Please explain why testing is allowed under our private property without permission and how sound waves can distinguish leased from un-leased property.

You also wrote that, quote. "... properties are protected against damage." Will you please provide a detailed plan on how public and private property will be protected from damages. What is your plan for compensation in cases where damage occurs in the near and long-term?

As our council representative for District 8, we request that you provide scientific documentation proving seismic testing is safe for people, wildlife, pets and subsurface life forms, both short and long term and in an urban environment - that it will not cause hearing loss, discomfort, brain hemorrhage or other biological impacts to humans and other life forms.

Additionally, we request documentation that proves seismic testing will not harm slab foundations, public streets, sidewalks, plumbing, sprinkler systems, utilities, septic systems, water wells, electronic devices and other public and private property in any way including, causing subsidence, cracks, wear and tear or any other negative impacts.

We also request proof that our homeowners' insurance will not be impacted in any way by seismic testing including, increased rates or reduced liability coverage.

It is essential that this documentation come from an independent, third-party source and not from the gas drilling industry, City of FW or any other party who benefits financially from drilling or seismic testing. It is important that the document demonstrate that such testing is safe in an urban environment and has been monitored for a period of at least five years. It is imperative that this proof be provided in a timely manner since the City has already issued permits and testing is underway.

You may be aware that a sizable number of property owners within the seismic testing area did NOT sign a mineral lease. Many who did sign regret signing for various reasons or believe they did so under duress or without all the facts. Others rightfully believe they were misled by or lied to by land-men working for the same companies now doing the seismic testing. Still others doubt the City did due diligence before allowing seismic testing putting an unfair burden on the residents of FW.

In fact, the City did not require environmental testing prior to allowing drilling to proceed by ordinance. City Attorney, Sarah Fullenwider, stated publicly in 2006 that, because the State does not require environmental impact assessments the City would not require it either. Ongoing reports indicate that urban and rural drilling is dangerous to public health, safety, the environment and it can reduce property value.

Because the City did not see fit to require independent environmental impact assessments for drilling, pipelines and other NG production in an urban setting and in ALL zoning classes, how can we expect they did so for seismic testing?

We need answers from you in order to protect ourselves, pets and property. If you cannot provide the documents requested within one weeks time, we expect an immediate halt to all seismic testing on public property until such evidence is available that proves testing is safe.


Don Young