If you could quickly rattle off a few things that you wouldn’t want to be erected in your back yard, you’d probably think of things like “pig farm” or “chemical plant.” “Gas well” probably makes the list, but would you expect to put “wind turbine” in the same category?
Zoning laws are in place for a number of reasons, separating and protecting the rights of those living in rural, residential, urban, commercial, and industrial zones, among others. This is why we don’t find “gas wells” and “pig farms” in close proximity with “townhomes” and “hair salons.” [Could you imagine the conflagration that would develop, should the flare from a gas well ignite the pig farm?]
Thankfully, most zoning laws make perfect sense, which keep things like fertilizer plants from impacting quiet little townsfolk. Wait, sorry, it didn’t do that. The West Fertilizer Company, located in West, TX, caught fire on April 17 and eventually exploded, destroying some 200 homes and other buildings, collapsing three schools, and killing 15 people, leaving another 150 injured.
Taking a look at gas wells in North Dakota, we’re taking it as a pretty good thing that most of the gas wells are outside of the tiny town of Willston, ND with a population of just over 14,700, which brings me to the “What in blazes is Victoria, Australia thinking when they set up their zoning laws?”
Specifically, how far away does a gas well need to be from a residence? According to the infographic, in the State of Victoria, you can put a new gas well just 100m [328ft] from your house. Dog kennel – three tenths of a mile. Coal power plant – six tenths of a mile. Wind turbine – one and one quarter miles. Apparently, dog kennels and wind turbines are more hazardous than your average gas well.
I, for one, will sleep well in the warmth of the flare from my backyard gas well and coal power plant, knowing that hazardous dog kennels and wind turbines are being kept very far away from my family.