Vote Delayed On Delano Oil Drilling

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Thursday September 12, 2013

It's a proposal that could bring millions to the City of Wichita, but the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission voted to postpone its decision on whether to drill downtown until next month.

During a open hearing Thursday afternoon, residents expressed their concern for moving forward with the project.

"This is a wildcat well, exploratory well in an undeveloped field. Those probabilities of recovering any oil whatsoever is between 10 and 13 percent," said one resident.

The developers, Trek AEC, are convinced that there is oil underneath Century II. They are asking the commission for the rights to drill.

Project representative Greg Ferris says if oil is discovered, production will start as soon as 60 days. The city would get at least 15 percent of the royalties -- anywhere from $6 million to $100 million.

"This is a multimillion dollar company who does risk analysis who has looked at this site and determined that from their risk, it's worthwhile," Ferris said.

Yet some, like resident and business woman Susan Shocket, say the future of the Delano district should align with the future of energy.

"Oil is dirty, and I try to pick up trash in our neighborhood," she said. "This is the 21st century. We should not be looking at oil options."

"Why are we thinking in these fossil fuel terms, when we know the future lies -- as with other cities -- in green technologies, green jobs and a green way of living," another man echoed.

The commission voted to close public hearings on the matter, but will revisit the oil drilling issue on Oct. 10.

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