The City of Joaquin met at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 24 to hear opinions on proposed changes to a new proposed oil and gas ordinance. As stated in the meeting’s agenda, the meeting was to “discuss changes to the Oil, Gas and Pipeline Ordinance that was previously suspended pending revision. (At this time, representatives of companies and others may have input into the ordinance and its proposed revision.”
Joaquin Mayor Mike Wood opened the discussion by stating that the council and he were concerned most of all with the safety of Joaquin’s citizens, and they wished to have “an extra eye on the situation.”
Mayor Wood said that there were 21 wells and two or three pipelines in the city limits, and they would like to inspect seven wells per year (each one would be inspected every three years).
Several Joaquin citizens spoke, including Rodney Dean, Buren Lowe and David Graves, who appeared mainly concerned with losing revenue if the oil and gas companies went elsewhere because of the ordinance.
Joaquin ISD Superintendent Phil Worsham informed the group that the taxable value in the district had declined with the low gas prices. He stated that Classic Hydrocarbons was a good taxpayer. Superintendent Worsham answered a previous speaker’s assertion that the oil and gas companies had been a windfall by saying that there was no windfall, tax-wise.
B.G. Clark of Hechman spoke against more regulations added to the ones already in place by federal and state laws. He stated his opinion that the city would be opening itself up to liability if an accident happened and Joaquin had signed off on an inspection that everything was in order. Clark encouraged the city council to “take a step back” from adding more regulations.
Jamie Bryant, attorney for Classic Hydrocarbons, stood and stated the case against the ordinance as written. She reminded the assembly that Classic owns the majority of the well sites in Joaquin, and that they “bend over backwards” to work with the city. She stated that the inspections were no problem, but that the paperwork would be a “huge administrative burden for both for companies and the city.” Bryant wanted to return to the original ordinance and to have a sit-down meeting with the city council and go over the proposed ordinance line by line.
It was decided to have the representatives from companies and others who wished to stay, sit down with the mayor, city council, attorney for Joaquin, Mike Tanner, and consultant for Joaquin, Chris Paladore, to work out the details of a revised ordinance that would work to the benefit of all parties.
Mayor Wood said that the revisions had been done, with the meeting ending at 3:30 p.m. There will be a public hearing before a vote on the ordinance.