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Arlington City Council Votes Down Gas Well Drilling Permit Near Daycare Center

By J.D. Miles

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    ARLINGTON, Texas (KTVT) — An Arlington daycare took on a $300 billion company and won.

In a 5-4 vote, the Arlington City Council voted down a specific use permit for an oil and gas company to drill new wells in their neighborhood.

After the drilling permit passed the last council meeting in November, the few concerned residents and activists who showed up Tuesday night did not expect to make much of an impact.

But it only took an impassioned plea from a daycare manager to do it.

“Children playing and breathing this in is a major problem,” said Wanda Vincent, the director of Mother’s Heart Learning Center.

It was her final argument after months of seemingly getting nowhere in her fight to stop more gas wells from drilling near the Mother’s Heart Learning Center where she takes care of 70 children of color.

“Great neighborhoods contribute to a higher quality of life and greater investment in our community,” she said.

Even Vincent didn’t think her words would matter after the Arlington City Council already approved the proposal during a preliminary vote in November.

Representatives of Total Energies, a $320 billion oil and gas company, assured council members that the wells would be subjected to emissions testing multiple times a year.

But when a council member asked for more, the answer was, it was too costly.

Community groups and environmental groups joined the opposition

‘The Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club adamantly opposes approving the special use permit,” said John MacFarlane of the Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club.

The council’s rejection of the permit had Total Energies delegation leaving without comment.

But it had Wanda Vincent calling the outcome a miracle.

“I am very grateful and I’m very surprised,” said Vincent. “Uou just really don’t know what’s going to happen after the roller coaster we’ve been through.”

Total Energies still has wells that operate in Arlington and thousands in Texas.

But the company will have to wait at least a year before it can reapply for a permit near the daycare.

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