Thursday, the Lubbock City Council will vote on a resolution to form an Oil and Gas Citizen's Advisory Committee. This group of appointed Lubbock residents will research and explore Lubbock's future in the oil and gas industry and the impact it would have on the city and surrounding areas.
Council members Latrelle Joy and Todd Klein are bringing the resolution before the council during Thursday night's meeting. Klein believes this is an opportunity to show oil and gas companies that Lubbock is open for business.
"We need to be a city that's open for business. We have a real opportunity with oil and gas to provide a new sales tax, more opportunity here economically and more jobs," Klein said.
However, Klein realizes there are concerns throughout the community and that's why he's spearheading this committee to research exploration on a deeper level.
"Can we get more public input? Can we get citizen's involvement at the grassroots level?" Klein asked.
Klein hopes this group of nine will consist of experts from the oil and gas industry, experts on the environment and even concerned citizens.
"Can you get a perfect balance? I think you can get real darn close if you start looking at it in terms of the people that are interested and concerned about the issue," Klein said.
However, Lubbock resident and anti-fracking advocate Armando Gonzales, doesn't buy it.
"I don't know if they have their own agenda to push instead of protecting the residents in Lubbock," Gonzales said.
Fracking is an issue that's come before the council on numerous occasions, but it's one Gonzales says is continually swept under the rug.
"It's abusive to the environment, it's abusive to the people. I don't think the City Council has studied this like they should," Gonzales said.
Klein disagrees, saying fracking is one of the topics this committee will research. Only time will tell if this oil and gas boom will head north, but while we wait, the controversy is sure to drill on.
"I've heard Councilman Klein say 'we're open for business'. Ya, well, there's a lot of businesses that need regulation," Gonzales said.
Klein says he already has numerous appointments in mind. If it passes, the council will vote to approve nine appointments to the citizen's committee during Thursday night's meeting.
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