Argument in Lubbock City Council Meeting Over Oil & Gas Amendment
Lubbock City Council members passed the second reading of amendments to the Oil and Gas ordinance that will create an oil and gas advisory committee and increase well set back distance from 300 to 600.
This sparked an argument between Councilwoman Latrelle Joy and a representative from the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber reiterated their position from the previous meeting and urged the council to revert to the 300-foot setback, citing economic impedance. Norma Ritz Johnson, executive vice president for government and community relations, said the committee that made the recommendation worked for more than a year and their unaltered recommendation should be adopted.
Councilwoman Latrelle Joy made clear that the 600-foot distance can be negotiated between oilfield operators and landowners and that disputes arising from negotiations may be taken up by council.
Johnson said she was aware of that process, but asked Joy: "Why create a challenge to begin with?"
"Well, for the health and safety of the community. Would that be a good reason," Councilwoman Joy responded to much applause.
Councilwoman Joy also called out the chamber for reminding council members of their voting records before the March 13 vote, stating the chamber rarely does so and the act could be seen as harboring an ulterior motive.
Johnson said voting records were defined as a nationwide best practice. Joy responded that if it was, the chamber should not just remind council members of the record before crucial votes because it could be seen as cherry picking and influencing votes.
Johnson said the chamber does not score every vote. Instead, it "identifies key votes and consult with our board on that."
When emailed for comments about emailing council members with reminders of voting records only before certain votes, Johnson provided a link to the chamber’s vote record.