City Hall was packed Thursday night for the council's first evening meeting under a new mayor and council.
More than a dozen people addressed the council, with approximately two-thirds involving hydraulic fracturing in Lubbock. The majority of that group objected to the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and to a contract with an exploration company signed by the city last spring. Under the contract, Four Sevens Exploration Co. will be allowed to engage in fracking on three sites within the city.
Fracking is a method of drilling for natural gas that's become a huge energy resource commodity. It involves drilling thousands of feet underground and injecting fluid made up of water, sand and chemicals at a high pressure. It fractures shale rocks to release the natural gas.
Opponents of the process, including members of Occupy Lubbock, expressed frustration that the contract did not get a public airing.
Armando Gonzales said, "We believe the citizens of Lubbock were not allowed a say so of leasing out land and treasure. There were no open public notices."
Another speaker said, "I feel like the contract was signed with a somewhat short-sighted eye for profit, with little regard of the health and safety of the community, that fracking would take place in."
Other members of Occupy Lubbock said the process will contaminate the city's water, and they asked council members to rescind the city's agreement with Four Sevens.
Mayor Glen Robertson said the situation isn't that easy, and if the city were to cancel the agreement it would face legal issues. Robertson was not the mayor when the contract was signed in March.