WICHITA, Kansas – A proposal to drill for oil in downtown Wichita is catching some heat from residents who are fighting back with an online petition.
On Tuesday, the online petition called “Not in My Wichita! Just Say No to Drilling and Fracking Downtown,” reached more than 200 signatures. The goal is to convince city officials to vote against oil drilling under Century II.
Last week, Delano residents expressed concern about the impact an oil rig would have on the area.
“But they aren’t going to go in next to a stinky oil well, and there won’t be a bike path,” said Karen Cravens, president of the Delano Neighborhood Association.
Cravens said a drill under Century II would be horizontal, and a potential pump could take up much needed space.
Mike Hadix, a geological consultant believes drilling is a good idea. He equates the idea to a landlord having oil under his property, only it will bring in revenue for the city.
“His taxes will be lessened by the fact that the income stream has come up from the development of what’s laying under the City of Wichita,” said Hadix.
Some Wichita lawmakers are considering the idea.
“I think we need to keep an open mind to it, not make any quick decisions,” said Wichita Council Member Jeff Blubaugh.
Others have mixed feelings about environmental concerns.
“I also have some questions about potential odors and noises,” said Wichita Council Member Janet Miller. “I’d also like to know about other communities that have done this kind of drilling in their downtowns.”
The Wichita City Council will discuss the proposal on August 6.