- Water Use Agreement questioned
- Lake Sharon HOA Board of Directors is seeking legal counsel
Read on for the details:
The “Water Use Agreement”, upon which XTO is apparently relying their authority to take water from Lake Sharon, was originally signed on April 22, 2008. The agreeing parties in the Agreement were Braden Exploration, LLC and 777 Lakes LP, signed by Zena GP 3 LLC, its General Partner. Zena was, and is, the original developer of Lake Sharon Estates. Of particular interest in the Agreement is a statement made within paragraph iii of the Recital, wherein it is stated “Braden contemplates the drilling and completion of one or two wells, (emphasis added), on the Lands (the “Well(s)”), and would like to take water from the Lands for use in a multi-stage completion of each of the Well(s)”.
This fact is particularly interesting because, as stated during the last Council hearing of April 15 by XTO representative Robert Manthei , XTO could drill “up to 20 or more” wells at the current site. This apparent earlier understatement of one or two wells contemplated, may lend credence to the often heard complaints from Lake Sharon homeowners who state that they were told by Braden representatives during the solicitation of their leases, that there would be “one drill operation at a site far away from the current site”.
We have been further informed by Lake Sharon HOA President Chris Boyd, that the Board of Directors, who also signed mineral leases with Braden Exploration, is currently seeking legal counsel. Some of the questions that the Board is currently perusing are “Could an apparent pattern of deceit by lease solicitors potentially call the validity of the lease(s) into question?” and “Does 777 Lake LP have the authority to contract for the sale of Lake Sharon water?” Chris Boyd already went on record at the last City Council meeting, on behalf of the Lake Sharon HOA, as formally opposing the request for variances.
Although both of these issues are critical to Lake Sharon Homeowners, the specter of two vertical feet of Lake water taken from the Lake could have potentially catastrophic effects on the Lake. As this is a body of water of shallow depth, “two vertical feet” could translate into two hundred feet of newly exposed lake bed, threatening nesting sites of countless migratory birds who have protection under The Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918. Also the specter of even more water being taken from the Lake for the additional wells, simply defies comprehension.
Another concerning fact is that the Water Use Agreement does not define a clear nominal water level from which the water level may drop. The agreement only mentions that the level of the lake may at no time fall lower than one foot for each Well, or a total of two feet for two Wells, if applicable, from the current level of the lake prior to Braden’s operation. It is unclear what the “current level” that is being referred to is.
Lake Sharon HOA President Chris Boyd, one of four who signed a waiver with XTO exempting him from the 600 foot setback requirement, is after consulting with counsel, contemplating the filing of a “withdrawal of consent waiver” with the appropriate parties, i.e. City of Corinth and Denton County. This will most likely require a return of any monies received from XTO by Mr. Boyd, yet those within Lake Sharon Estates applaud Mr. Boyd’s integrity, honor and sacrifice.
Of interest and relevant to the City of Corinth in regards to Lake Sharon, was a meeting between former City Manager Don Locke, Chris Boyd and Lake Sharon HOA Vice President Allan Beil. Chris Boyd and Allan Beil shared with Corinth Cares what took place during that conversation. In the course of this meeting, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Beil expressed their concern about water taken from Lake Sharon for a drill site in Denton. It was then that City Manager Don Locke assured Mr. Boyd and Mr. Beil, that if there was to ever be any gas drilling in Corinth, Lake Sharon water could not be used and that the City would require the drilling operator to purchase City water.
Corinth Cares has confirmed with Senior Planner Barbara Cubbage of the City of Corinth that there was not then, in 2008, nor now an ordinance requiring a drilling operator to purchase City water only. The only reference to such an issue of water for gas well drilling, is that the ordinance requires the drilling operator to submit, along with their application to drill, documents describing what their source of water will be.
All in all it appears that there is an abundance of issues relevant to the drilling at Lake Sharon Christian Center that may or may not been considered by the concerned parties.
For reference to the water use agreement, that was submitted with XTO’s drilling application select the following link: B Unit A1H Unit Permit. Reference pages 28-29 for the Water Use agreement.