Here in the DFW/Barnett Shale area, we have to reach the new federal OZONE reduction goal by 2018. The plan needs to be turned in by 2015 so we have 3 years to implement it to reach 75 ppb, but the last five years ave of 87 ppb…we’ve made no progress. If you have suggestions for how we can reduce ozone please send them ASAP to email email@example.com or call 817 608 2342.
In the past SIP neither the TCEQ or the NCTCOG Air Quality Comittee as a whole, felt that natural gas extraction activity in the Barnett Shale doesn’t need to be targeted for reductions because methane is low on the list of those chemicals highly reactive to ozone formation like NOX.
But this is TexASS and we have Frackademia money galore risking tainting real science, and it is extremely unlikely that will we ever reach a level of ozone attainment protective to public health.
Benzene at NCTCOG Sept 2012
Dr Allen, a chemistry professor from UT Austin Cockrell School of Engineering (who Rex Tillerson of Exxon just pledged $5 million to the school), gave a Barnett Shale related air quality presentation at the North Central Texas Council Of Governments to TCEQ on April 17, 2014.
Allen was appointed by our former EPA Chief to lead The Science Advisory Board back in 2012…really?…
Dr Allen started his presentation with disclosing the funding of the study which EDF was the only environmental group named. The other names I jotted down were…
He divided the emissions into three catagories (omitting the drilling & fracking phases’ emissions)…
1) Well Completion
3) Liquid Unloading
He talked about how the new EPA NSPS rules for green completions would offset the Methane emissions found from the pneumatic leaks. “Completion emissions are lower than previously estimated; Data show emissions from pneumatic controllers and equipment leaks are higher than EPA national emission projections; Estimates of total emissions are similar to the most recent EPA national inventory of methane emissions from natural gas production.”
My hand written notes show he said that these “routine type emissions” were found to be substantially understated especially for the midcontinent/Barnett Shale region when compared to other areas such as the Rocky Mountains, & Appalachians. Our Barnett Shale emissions came in second to the Gulf Coast’s unmitigated emissions.
There was mention of Chlorinated Emissions still mystifying the researchers in the quest for identifying constituents contributing to ozone creation.
As predicted, Dr Allen did NOT recommend that TCEQ adjust the State Implementation Plan (SIP) on Ozone attainment to restrict emissions from the Barnett Shale; so get ready to breathe the same o same o zone levels that are not healthy for us.
Years ago a study using air plane flyovers was undertaken, and I’m not surprised that it was (spoiler alert) a waste of money. After the meeting I had to ask Dr Allen (twice before I got an answer) if his presentation included information from the flyovers and as it turns out, it did not. He merely directed me to the study (that I still cannot find the flyover data) on the internet. Someone knowledgeable in this study commented on the flyover findings (that we thought were going to be presented) as ….
“stuff is pretty inconclusive…and old. They admit they didn’t fly on the best, most representative days, and the data they got was mostly useless.”
Allen touted that they had 20 months of data that showed no episodic huge emission events (like liquid loading) here in the Barnett Shale, but later engineer, Dick Guldi, of the Sierra Club questioned Dr Allen and found that if any emission anomalies (like this or this?) did occur, that it is stastically buried. Here is the video of that exchange…
Rep. Lon Burnam questioned why it was reported that the state froze the funding of an agency who found a link with a recent ozone surge and fracking. Here is a quote from that link…“TCEQ-funded study, performed by the Alamo Area Council of Governments, a San Antonio-area regional planning agency, suggested a link between oil and gas drilling and a recent surge in the region’s ozone levels.” Dr Allen deferred that (bullying?) to the state, but did offer this explanation….he said that the NOX combining with the area’s higher natural VOC’s from vegetation was why the ozone spiked. Oh pleaze give me a frackademian break!
I sat through many a NCTCOG air quality meetings, and it is and will always probably continue to be a joke as long as the city coffers are lined with gas drillers money.
Some of the people that used to sit on those committees were not chosen by the tax payers, and yet our taxes support the NCTCOG.
Some of these city council members and mayors that used to sit on these committees also vote for gas well permits “and” get to manage/dispense the revenues and participate is prior years SIP planning….what a FAIL!
It all makes for a conflict of interest at the risk and expense of our lungs to take the brutal beatings…. sadly we have no say so in this.
However the good news was that UNT presented next on how drilling is linked as a persistent factor in our DFW smog. It was a thorough explanation by Dr Kuruvilla John who mentioned NObody paid for the study and that it was student driven.
UNT’s Dr Kuruvilla John presents “An Evaluation of the Spatio-Temporal Characteristics of meterologically-Adjusted Ozone Trends in North Texas”
My camera focused on the TCEQ guy and so in the above pic, I don’t have a great pic of Dr John whose presentation was thorough in the who, what, when, where, & how the data was processed including why they teased out meterological conditions to unveil the manmade portions of ozone contributors.
He divided the info into two time frames, pre 2007 and post 2007 data, and he divided the areas studied from the fracking and nonfracking air monitored sites in North Texas. The charts clearly showed a departure from the drilling verses the nondrilling areas where the ozone was higher in drilling areas.
The Star Telegram reported of Dr John’s study…“Based on the raw ozone data, the area without natural gas production, dubbed the “non-fracking region,” reduced the number of times it exceeded federal ozone standards about 4 percent more than the “fracking region.”
Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing, a method of completing oil and gas wells, although the majority of emissions from oil and gas production take place after a well is completed.
John said a more worrisome finding came after adjusting the readings to eliminate weather-related factors such as temperature and wind, and looking at just the period after 2008, when ozone levels rose.
Ozone concentrations increased 12 percent during the summer in the fracking region, compared with 4 percent outside it, the study found. And during winter months, ozone levels rose 21 percent in the fracking region, compared with 5 percent outside it.”
Next TCEQ gave their presentation….
I am sad to report that after the TCEQ gave their lameo presentation,
appropriately Lon Burnam had to vent on how there still are
no real NEW plans to tackle ozone precursors
delt by the huge build out of our
Fearless Jim Schermbeck grilling the TCEQ who also addressed Dr John asking if the 2008 success in closing the cement kilns made the data less competitive to be able to see a better correlation of Barnett Shale related emissions on ozone verses the stuff historically coming off the cement plants.
Next, an Arlington democratic candidate “COZAD”, who is running against Representative (smokey) Joe Barton, spoke about how the price of NG may play a part in how sloppy drillers can be depending in emissions releases…. Here is the COZAD video link….
Gary Stuard made a remark on teasing out meteorologically important info when the reality of global warming (methanes indirect role in ozone) that goes back to drilling’s fingerprint with their methane leaks.
Lastly, although I did not get to officially speak, here are some points that I gave to the TCEQ folks in a hand-out as citizen participation was very limited…
- Barnett Shale created NOX especially with diesel drilling rigs have done damage in the last 7-10 years that is comparable to 1,479 years of Arlington’s General Motor’s plant NOX.
- Our Barnett Shale 18,000 gas wells’ VOC’s also are comparable to the VOC’s GM has created over a six and half year period (before the GM plant expansion)….so I will put pressure on the TCEQ to have an ozone monitor in the Entertainment District which is downwind to the GM plant and and the Chesapeake padsites (gaswells, compressors, etc) located on GM property.
- Methane’s warming effect (speeds up global warming) affects our ground level temps to become hotter which indirectly creates ozone. Warmer weather IS one of the factors in ozone formation…but we have a bunch of Perry appointed global warming deniers that are in leadership positions at the TCEQ…so they won’t put much stock in how methane losses are important to the SIP.
- I also learned that fracking and other seismic rock cracking events directly create ozone. “In research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2011, Grant and a research team found that tectonic stresses in the Earth’s crust send “massive amounts of primarily positive air ions into the lower atmosphere.”
I did get to speak OUT at the end of the meeting on our “unknown and unregulated” synergistic pollution risk (1+1=5) to our airshed with
combinations of drill sites and compressor stations
being near other major emission sources in Arlington to include…
water treatment plants, and
and I asked for an ozone monitor in our Entertainment District
…then came the crickets… and the meeting abruptly adjourned. Thats when the WFAA reporter asked me to stay for a sound bite interview which aired hours later.
After the meeting I spoke to Dr Allen because pollution levels being monitored from the sky by “da plane” are of interest lately as these “upper-end measurement” readings show how off base the EPA was at seven padsites that had emission readings taken by “da plane” in Pennsylvania. Those readings were found to have 100 up to 1,000 times more methane leaks than the EPA knew about. This was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr Allen that those readings were high because they drilled into a coalbed methane seam. The LATimes reported... “Much of the natural gas drilling in southwestern Pennsylvania goes through coal beds, which contain methane that might be leaking out, according to the study.”
I also asked Dr David Allen about how they measured what was coming off the tanks that vent..his slide show picture showed that they covered the open top tank with plastic and routed a vent hose to the ground where they point source tested it….I asked him why can’t they add a “gas buster” to that exhaust pipe? He said it would still vent, and so I said so why don’t they use the closed vent, pressurized tanks when they do this in our back yards?…he had no answer and so I said….your Cockrell school jus rec’d a $5 million Rex Tillerson pledge a few days ago!…I told him when schools take that kind of money their science is not credible”….he stared straight ahead emotionless…so I got more in his face and said the public relys on the scientists like you to protect “us” cause the politicions are bought off”…he said all they did was take the measurements and its up to us….I jumped in and said “we are busy working…we cannot compete with that kind of money influence to make changes that protect us”.…then I told him I now live less than 1/2 mile from the Chesapeake drillsite by the Cowboys Stadium but have been down wind to the gaswells at GM & UT Arlington for the last 7 years. I told him about my husband’s cancer, my nose bleeds, & my son’s endocrine disruption. I told him about the lady at the Autozone that now is on the fenceline to those storage tanks who worked there for 13 years with no migraines and itchiness until last year which was how long our drill site has been in production. Folks…I’ve come to the sad conclusion that Dr Allen isn’t human… he’s an alien that doesn’t have to live on this planet?
He can go fly (not) da plane but a kite…just like that TCEQ guy who doesn’t think ozone and fracking are a problem….
From: Chris Klaus <CKlaus@nctcog.org>
To: kim feil <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:41 AM
Subject: RE: [BarnettShale_GassedNGastly] Methane Emissions From Gas Wells Up To 1,000 Times Higher Than Federal Estimate: Study
Should be presented tomorrow, specifically #2…
From: kim feil [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 10:13 PM
To: Chris Klaus
Subject: Re: [BarnettShale_GassedNGastly] Methane Emissions From Gas Wells Up To 1,000 Times Higher Than Federal Estimate: Study
I recall there was to be some planes fly over the Barnett Shale a few years ago and were to measure emissions and map them.
What ever became of those results?