Parents who send their children to a day care center in Arlington, Texas, will be able to breathe easier after the city refused to let a large energy company drill more gas wells a few hundred feet away from the center’s playground.

Arlington City Council voted 5-4 on Tuesday evening to reject Total Energy’s request to drill additional gas wells, overturning a preliminary council decision in November to allow the wells to move forward.

Tuesday’s vote marked a setback for Total and a surprise victory for community members who wanted to stop drilling because they feared it could harm the health of children and neighboring residents. The Associated Press reported on the dispute in November, with an in-depth look at affected people along the natural gas supply chain. A statistical analysis of the locations of the Totals wells in Arlington found a higher density of them in neighborhoods that many people of color call homes. Living near fracking areas has been linked to health risks, including asthma, neurological and developmental disorders.

“I’m happy! Facilitated…. It was completely unexpected, “said Rosalia Tejeda, who lives a few blocks from the drilling site with her three children.” I hope this means that the health and well-being of our children should be above everything else, because they are the future, our future. the workforce, our future leaders. ”

Total Energies said Wednesday it was considering its options after the council vote.


“We work diligently to ensure safety and quality of life for all our neighbors near each of our countries,” Tricia Fuller, a company spokeswoman, told AP.

The battle between Total, a French energy giant, and the Mother Heart Learning Center, a family-owned day care serving mostly black and Latino children, has been going on for more than a year. Total pumps gas from two active wells on the property, which were drilled by a previous owner, Chesapeake, about a decade ago. When Total initially sought approval to drill new gas wells in the country in 2020, at a time when Black Lives Matter demonstrations were taking place in Arlington and across the country, its request was rejected.

But the Arlington oil and gas companies are allowed to reapply for a permit each year, so Total applied again. In November, the council gave preliminary approval to the Total plan to expand the drilling area, which would pave the way for several new platforms near the nursery. But late Tuesday night, she overturned that decision after councilor Rebecca Boxall changed her vote from “yes” to “no.”

Some council members feared a lawsuit from Total if they rejected the request. A Texas law makes it almost impossible for local governments to hinder oil and gas development. During the November meeting, Boxall begged the people to fight the reduction of local control, but nevertheless voted yes.