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Hundreds turn out to meeting about proposed drilling at Lake Hefner

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OKLAHOMA CITY - More than 100 protesters and residents were left out in the cold. That was the scene at a public meeting about horizontal drilling just south of Lake Hefner.

Pedestal Oil Company proposed up to six wells just south of the lake.

Start date permits have not been handed out, and no leases have been written.

Due to fire codes, the Will Rogers Conservatory filled to capacity at 134 people.

The remaining protesters were left to stand outside and could be heard saying things like "we need to know" and "no more fracking."

They were also asking oil reps to come outside.

Anger from the public was also evident inside the building.

"Help me understand why I shouldn't be concerned," one man said.

"You can't drink oil and you can't eat gas. We don't have another place to go; we mess this one up, we're through," the man continued.

Another woman asked about trucks damaging the roads because the company has mentioned that it also wants to tear down trails and rebuild them to make them sturdy for heavy equipment.

Representatives from Pedestal Oil are trying to assure the citizens that nothing serious is at stake.

"As far as all of the concerns about safety, modern well construction is so highly regulated by State and federal rules that the risks of contamination have nearly been eliminated," Wayne Smith, an advisor for Pedestal Oil said.

But Oklahomans are not buying it.

The plants would be 250 feet by 300 feet, and the oil company says the break would be in place a maximum of 20 days.

"I'm not opposed to oil wells and all that kind of stuff. But I think it's something that they can pick up a private spot of land if they need to access the oil," Dave Lindo, owner of OKC Kayak says.

"It's not the right place. You can't just put a well there and expect people not to say anything about it," Grace Rudkin, a high school student said.

And speak up they did.

"I couldn't be more proud of how many hundreds of Oklahoma citizens came out tonight to perform their civic duties. And I couldn't be more proud. (sic) And I couldn't be more disappointed that we force them to stay out in the cold and rain," City Councilman Ed Shadid said.

So the question remains: What's next in the proposal?

"This would have to pass two bodies in order to become implemented. First, it would have to pass five votes on the Oklahoma City water utilities trust, and then it would have to pass the City Council," Shadid says.

The president of Pedestal Oil would not go on camera, but insists he is concerned for the safety of the people and the trails.

He says he would have never drafted a proposal if he thought anyone's safety was in jeopardy.

The city will still be accepting public comments via email or snail mail.

You have until December 22 to submit any comments.

The Utilities Department has made it possible to receive comments and questions via email at or by regular mail at:

Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust
General Manager
420 West Main, suite 500
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

All written comments received by Monday, December 22, will be gathered and summarized in a report to the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust in January 2015.

 The process will require approvals by the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, City Council, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Board of Adjustment, and finally, permit approval by the City Council.  The operator will be required to follow all federal, state and local laws.

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