Archive for June, 2013


“Berry Oil has in place a rigorous environmental, health and safety program that all employees and contractors are required to adhere to.” Berry’s website

Does Berry rigid standards include torn pit liners? Or dumping unknown fluids out on their drill sites or on landowners property? Does anyone think it is a good idea, in this day and age, to simply dump fluid of any kind onto someone else’s land? How do we know it was ‘just water’? Did they sample it before hand…or just assume it would be ‘ok’?

The Berry/Linn merger apparently has been delayed until the third quarter. The lawsuit alleges that things were manipulated by folks at Berry in order to benefit senior executives and large stockholders. If this is true we won’t be surprised here in Gardendale….that is exactly what they have been doing to us for three years!


Gardendale protest highlighted by Bloomberg news in Houston.

carpetbagger•We were told recently by an oil company legal representative that they (the oil company) had 80 years of Texas law and precedent behind them in what they do in places like Gardendale. In other words, there has not been a substantial change in the direction of Texas law in 80 years. While Texas law declares the mineral estate to be dominant it also states that oil companies must make accommodation to existing use of land they drill on, where possible. It also gives them the right to ‘reasonable’ use of the surface as they seek to exploit their lawfully owned/leased minerals. Texas got itself in the jam it is in now when it ‘split’ the mineral estate from the surface estate. Now it is possible (and actually prevalent) for the surface owner to have no interest in the minerals. This set up a natural conflict between the surface owner and mineral owner. The surface owners at times tried to inhibit the mineral owner from harvesting his property. Therefore the courts have consistently sided with the mineral owner and supported his ‘rights’. This seems reasonable until you see this insidious practice played out on your own land. When the law was put in place declaring the mineral owner to have the ‘dominant estate’ the technology in place was antiquated compared to todays. Directional drilling, fracking and the multitude of production improvements have radically changed what can be done and where it can be done. Areas that were believed to be unprofitable to exploit for the last 60 years or more are all of a sudden ‘goldmines’. The quantum leap of technology has outstripped the law. It is often said (and has been said to me many time) “When you bought your land you knew you didn’t own the minerals….You should have known that an oil company could drill on you! YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!” So, the law that existed 80 years ago was meant to include the fantastic leaps of technology that came afterward. Does anyone believe that? Do we believe the same about other industries? 80 years ago did we view cigarettes the same as we do know? Auto safety? Do you remember when the dash in your car was hard metal and it actually had pointed dials that could pierce your eye if you were thrown forward? Should auto companies be able to apply the safety standards of 80 years ago to today’s cars? Do we really want 80 year old law to govern modern technology? Even our language has changed to include modern technologies that weren’t a fantasy 80 years ago.

In Texas our state has bent its regulatory functions to support the oil producer, many times (I believe) at the expense of the landowner. Many folks believe that some of what oil companies do to surface owners is unjust and perhaps a violation of basic civil rights. But in Texas there seems to be tolerance for putting up with ‘a few injustices’ in exchange for the high paying jobs and enhanced revenue. ‘Sure, there are things they shouldn’t do but look at all the jobs they provide.” We choose to ignore the slights to what we believe to be the few because of the economic benefit to the many. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” is a slogan popularized by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program. They can take your land because others will benefit from it! Apparently our Texas politicians share this philosophy. You possibly think this reasonable….unless you are a landowner (say of two acres) that is going to have all of your land absorbed for use by an oil company; or, unless you are a landowner ignored by law enforcement when reporting trespass of oil company employees; or, unless you are a landowner that has been told a mineral lease signed in 2007 supersedes your land deed granted over 50 years ago; or, unless when reporting grievances and possible crimes you are told it is a ‘civil’ matter; or, unless after presenting video evidence to the TRRC of misdoing by an oil company on your land you are told that your video means nothing; or, unless …and many, many more examples that are taking place in our community. Berry Petroleum has swooped into Gardendale like Carpetbaggers infesting the South after the loss of the civil war. ‘Carpetbaggger – When northern people came to the south to take advantage of their poor situation when they were vulnerable (apt description of the Berry carpetbaggers).’ Their misdeeds are compounded by recruiting fellow Texans to assist in the wholesale disassembling of Gardendale. In exchange for their 30 pieces of silver they scurry to carry out Berry’s bidding. However, it isn’t too late to change course. If you are a Berry employee and don’t like what you see them doing in Gardendale, QUIT! There are plenty of jobs out there in which you don’t have to betray your neighbors in exchange for a full rice bowl. It may be a difficult thing to do but your grandchildren will talk about the time “Grandpa (or Grandma) risked it all to do the right thing. What will you choose? A legacy of courage and commitment to stick up for the vulnerable or a paycheck from a company that cares not one whit for your conscience? Perhaps it is time to stand up, be counted and vote with your feet. Choose now. As you read this if your conscience is speaking to you, listen. Don’t deny its call to your heart.


Berry Scar Memorial Update

Posted: June 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Berry Scar Memorial Update

The Berry Scar Memorial has gotten a facelift! This historic monument can be seen on Hwy 158 in Gardendale.


After the fluid from the portable tank blew all over the place at Cottonwood and Loyola and the residents expressed their dismay with the unknown fluid all over their cars, yards and houses LinnBerry (Linn+Berry = LinnBerry; a close relative to the Dingleberry) dispatched a mobile car wash crew to hose everything down.  Perhaps the simple country folk in Gardendale would be happy if everything looked shiny new! Working in casual clothing the crew got to work to clean up. The runoff with the unknown residue ran down onto the ground and into the ditches, safely out of the way, destined to make its way harmlessly into the water table! I hope the LinnBerries in Midland know what they are doing! A source reports the EPA has been notified and intends an investigation into the actions of LinnBerry, the TCEQ and the TRRC. Is this contamination of the homes in Gardendale going to be swept under the rug? LinnBerry (Linn + Berry = LinnBerry; a close relative to the Dingleberry) rides into Gardendale like carpetbaggers of old, taking advantage of outdated laws, defenseless residents and a bought and paid for legislature to subject us to  their industrial hazards in our backyards!  This act of contamination left the pad site and therefore should not be exempt from regulation! What will LinnBerry (Linn + Berry = LinnBerry; a close relative to the Dingleberry), the TCEQ, the TRRC and our spineless politicians intend to do to protect us from future incidents like this? I hope they have a better plan than the one in place now because LinnBerry is going to drill hundreds and hundreds of more wells in Gardendale! They have barely started! Of course this incident can be chalked up to the ‘anomaly’ of strong winds in West Texas……probably a hundred year, thousand year or million year event which we won’t have to worry about again! Perhaps the wind in LinnBerry’s (Linn + Berry = LinnBerry; a close relative to the Dingleberry) executive’s neighborhoods doesn’t blow that hard and they had no idea what could happen here. Gardendale, it is time for you to stand up for yourselves! Or, you can simply accept LinnBerry’s (Linn + Berry = LinnBerry; a close relative to the Dingleberry) plan to turn Gardendale into a massive oil and gas complex, withstand it as long as you can and finally move out with a quiet whimper. You choose. At Gardap we choose to stand up for ourselves. We don’t deny LinnBerry’s right to the minerals they leased, neither will we allow their irresponsible and reckless behavior to go unchallenged.

Gardendale gets Fracked!

Posted: June 6, 2013 in Uncategorized


Last night, June 5, winds in Gardendale gusted to 70 mph. A frack pit lined with plastic in the area of Cottonwood and Loyola was sucked out by the high winds. Frack fluid remaining in the pit was blown all over homes, buildings, cars and everything else in the area for 1000 feet! Residents were outraged! What was in the fluid? What will the LinnBerry do about it (LinnBerry – Linn plus Berry, a close relative to the more well known DingleBerry). What chemicals have these folks been exposed to? This is another reason that these operations should not be near homes! I