Oklahoma City, OK – May 18, 2015 The Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association retained Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, to speak on its behalf Monday to the Stillwater City Council, which is considering an ordinance that could hinder oil and natural gas development within the city limits.

Ireland urged the council to look to Texas in crafting its ordinance. He said cities like his home of Fort Worth — a city of nearly 1 million people where more than 20,000 wells have been drilled — have successfully addressed issues like the ones facing Stillwater.

He said regulations requiring a 600-foot setback between wells and residential structures have worked well in Fort Worth.

The current ordinance being considered in Stillwater requires a 660-foot setback. The council took no action on the proposal Monday.

After the meeting, OKOGA President Chad Warmington said he is pleased with the progress Stillwater officials have made with the proposed ordinance.

“We are glad that city planners are discussing more reasonable setbacks that take into consideration many of the points we have been trying to make,” Warmington said. “There is no reason that oil and gas development can’t coexist easily with the community and its residents.”

“We were also glad to see some reciprocity in how close new developments can be built near our existing oil and gas production.”

Ireland also warned Stillwater officials against misinformation being put forth by industry opponents.

In prepared comments submitted to the council, Ireland said wells located near houses in Denton were drilled before the subdivision was built. 

He also said sand used in completion operations is the same as that found in children’s sandboxes, while noting concerns about air quality are overblown because not one of 4.6 million tests cited in a “Science of the Total Environment” study neared any health-based standard.

Ireland said residents who live near most North Texas well sites tend to forget about them because those sites are behind fences, quietly producing natural gas used in home heating and electricity generation.