The push of gas drilling into communities has already generated more than a neighborhood-full of potential conflicts. Don Young, over at FWCanDo (Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Ordinance), is in the middle of one.
FWCanDo is sponsoring an art contest, Buzzworms in the Backyard, seeking entries that "reflect citizen concerns about the negative impact and far-reaching implications of industrial drilling in their communities."
Young has asked the Fort Worth School District to let him hand out fliers promoting the contest to high school students. The district confirms it declined, and Young says an official there told him it was because of the "political" nature of the contest.
Young notes that the district participated in the recent Barnett Shale Expo (co-sponsored by the Star-Telegram), with the "FWISD Energy Contest." The poster contest was open to ninth graders "interested in learning about the natural gas boom." Entries had to be fashioned on one of five topics: 1) Where does natural gas come from, 2) What is the Barnett Shale?, 3) How do we get natural gas?, 4) How do we use natural gas?, and 5) and what are the benefits of using natural gas? "This contest serves as a pilot project for FWISD," the Expo says on its web site.
"Why is it OK for the FWISD to co-sponsor the...contest that glorifies the gas drilling industry and it is not OK for the FWISD to partner with FWCanDo for an art opportunity that tells the other side of the story?" Young said. He also suggested the school district has been "bought off" by gas rights leases it's signed.
Clint Bond, a FWISD spokesman, tells Blogging the Barnett Shale that the district was not a co-sponsor and notes it wasn't listed as such on the Expo site.
"The Fine Arts Department also tells me it is inundated every year with poster contest requests, but cannot accomodate most of those requests," Bond said. In FWCanDo's case, "the department leadership concluded that this community issue might be better left to other forums."