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Trustees Deny Renewal Of Abundance Energy Well Sites


The Bethel Acres Board of Trustees convened for its monthly meeting on March 4, but the majority of the time that the board spent in deliberation was behind closed doors.

Entering into a executive session early on in the meeting, the trustees spent over twenty minutes discussing "confidential communications between the board and its attorney concerning pending litigation of which disclosure will seriously impair the ability of the Board of Trustees to litigate said matter," according to the official agenda for the meeting.

Bethel became tangled in the civil suit (CV-17-48) involving former trustee Mark Gober from over a year ago, when a letter was sent from the town to one of the defendants in the case.

After returning from the closed session, the trustees did not comment on their discussions, and made no mention of any votes or motions made during the session. "There is no action at this point," Mayor Jake Clanin said frankly.

Also proving controversial at the meeting, as always, was the monthly Oil and Gas Report, presented by Neal Davis after arriving late. Abundance Energy, the same company the board has been in contact with since the fall of 2018, missed more payments during the month of February. Davis asserted that they'd also neglected to respond to official communications from Bethel, including emails, calls, and physical mail. As such, Davis advised the board that even though the Abundance wells were in compliance with regulations, they should not be renewed.

Two other wells were also discussed in the report, one by Miner Electric and one by Veenker Resources. Both wells were in compliance and up-to-date on payments, and as such the board voted unanimously to approve these last two wells, while denying renewal for any sites connected with Abundance Energy. The trustees hinted that future legal action could be in the works.

Kristina Romero and her family were at the meeting, waiting to hear a decision on a building permit application for a property in McLoud. After very little discussion, the permit was unanimously approved, with the addendum made by Mayor Clanin that the family would alert the board if a storm shelter were built on the property in the future.

The monthly reports were uneventful, as neither the Sherriff's Deputy, Emergency Manager, nor City Attorney had a report to give – the Deputy and Emergency Manager being completely absent from the meeting. Fire Chief Rusty Tucker informed the board of the training program that 16 Bethel firefighters are undertaking in Lawton. He also expressed his pride in the city's response to the cold weather, citing that there had been no structure fires during the cold month of February, a rarity during seasons when heating systems are turned up to maximum.

"We're proud of that one," he said.

During new business, the topic of having a meet and greet forum for candidates in the district – candidates who will take their seats during the April meeting of the trustees – was discussed. Neil Davis, who was involved with a similar event during the last campaigning season, was asked to moderate the forum, and accepted the tentative invitation. Those candidates up for reelection who are currently serving on the board were asked whether they would be open to speaking at such an event, and all responded in the affirmative. A few candidates for Bethel office were also in attendance at the meeting, and there was a general air of excitement over the upcoming elections.

After a short discussion over the possibility of an additional meeting being necessary to approve updated flood plains maps, it was determined by the trustees that no meeting would be held, and no action would be taken.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees will be April 1.


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