Tyler Approves Drilling Lease, Residents Concerned - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/10/03 - Smith County

Tyler Approves Drilling Lease, Residents Concerned

The city of Tyler is set to bring in a possible $16 million dollars in new revenue. But, some county residents aren't too happy about it. The money is set to come from a new gas and oil lease. The city council approved the lease this morning. It can include up to 16 drilling sites in five thousand acres of city owned land around Lake Tyler.

After the meeting several Lake Tyler residents gathered to express their concern over the decision.

"Well, this is just absurd that the first thing I hear about it is today," said Lake Tyler resident Lori Harvell.

Harvell and others were upset the city didn't notify them this was going on. City officials say they did, in the form of three full-page ads in the Tyler paper, as well as a phone call to the Lake Tyler Homeowner's Association President.

"This was no secret," said Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber. "The public meeting was held today and everybody had the opportunity to give their input."

"I'm very upset that Lake Tyler is now going to have oil wells drilled around it," said Allyce Dolan. She built a nice home, with a great view of the lake. They don't want the wells around their property. But more importantly to them, they just wanted some answers before the lease was approved, answers they feel they didn't get at todays city council meeting.

"I understand that it is their choice," said Dolan, "but they are elected officials and you'd think they'd want to listen to the concerns of the people before they go off and do this.

"I understand their concerns," said Seeber, "that's the reason we spent months on the lease to put very stringent provisions in there to protect the environment, to protect the water supply, to protect the residents out there."

Although the wells may be built near homes, the city hopes that within a few years, residents won't even know it. In the meantime, the city is guaranteed just over $1.1 million dollars in this deal, but that, residents say, isn't enough to make it worthwhile.

"This is a valuable asset the way it is," said Dolan, "and I'm really concerned they're trading off, the oil money or the gas money at the expense of the beauty."

Tyler has not decided on a use for the money generated by this lease. It will be put into a special fund for later consideration. The city plans to hold a town hall meeting for Lake Tyler residents. That's scheduled for next Tuesday night at 6:00 at the Tyler Area Senior Citizens Association at 3402 Old Omen Road.

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