FYI here is an article about how nervous towns are about being sued by drillers if local laws try to thwart the states right to drill… http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20120820/NEWS01/308210005
Note please that TV and internet anti fracking ads from the public are beginning to roll ….the snowball has left the top of the mountain, and an avalanche is immenent with grass root citizen groups that are growing by the day…
If you read just the boldfaced items on my blog topic below, these are issues I need help addressing as the shale revolution threatens our health and property values.
I live in Arlington TX which is ground zero to 55 natural gas drilling “padsites” in a 99 square mile area. Over the last couple of years I tuned in to spills, floods, and emission events at some of these sites. The first one was a produced water spill at UT Arlington home to 22 on campus gas wells. The youtube video called “UTA Spill” showed a suspicious pipe leading to Johnson Creek and EPA footage shows brine content evidence, but unfortunately, no local, state or federal entity is set up to routinely test for fracking chemical, heavy metals, BTEX and NORM at these drill sites and we’ve had at least three flooding events at a few drill sites here with heavy rains.
I also am downwind to these on campus gas wells and want the City of Arlington who have council members with the appearance of a conflict of interest in managing over $80,000,000 in our gas drilling revenue fund (council also approves drilling and our gas drilling ordinance). The earnings off of this fund go to pet projects, historical markers, and statues when we need pir PID hand helddetector to test in parts per billion and a pricey $100,000 infrared camera to uncover where invisible hydrocarbons are spewing into the neighborhoods and near our schools. Here is a TCEQ infrared video of UTA’s hydrocarbons… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p-G36wAONc&feature=player_embedded
I also live near General Motors who has two padsites and over 23 gas wells and recall that driving by there once and smelling a rotten egg odor reminded me of when I lived & worked near refinery row in Norco Lousiana. Over the time that drilling started in Arlington, I’ve seen my health and my son be affected. I went to a nutritionist last fall who helped me detox over a six month period to correct the sudden onset of achy joints. The muscle twitching of my eyebrow finally subsided now that the pace of drilling here has dropped. My respiratory issues remain, and I continue to become more sensitive to pollution, sounds and now light.
Enough about me, let me tell you how this has impacted our town’s fire department. They are being sued by the industry oil and gas association(s) for needing more money to better equip our first responders with necessary equipment & highly trained personnel needed for all these gass wells here. This does not include them needing to be responsive to testing spills for toxins, and testing the air with suma canisters when they are dispatched to drill site emergencies.
Public health protections that are missing in URBAN drilling include….
1) Texas Reportable Quantities should be lower than 5,000 lbs.
Last April and May, our fire department responded to two emission events that the operators claim was ONLY 1,468 lbs and 1,559 lbs per TCEQ incident #169246 (this report would not exist if I hadn’t asked for it). In one of these events, a second fire truck was dispatched to follow a white, vapor cloud almost three blocks wide into a neighborhood. This drill site backs up to a daycare… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TkLGN9n__U
and is across from Hutchinson Junior High. It is worth reporting that the well could have auto shut in if the batteries were there on the acoustic meter. Our city inspectors do not check for batteries though.
2) In Arlington, our Gas Well Ordinance is missing vital regulations that a Home Rule city can legally enforce to be protective of public health such as……
a) It does not mandate Green Completions (the EPA late to the game and will mandate those in 2.5 years)
b) It does not mandate VOC scrubbers on the OPEN hatch flowback tanks
c) It does not mandate city or emergency responders to involve TCEQ or the EPA or RRC….citizens are left to ensure reports are made.
d) It does not mandate that those managing the drilling revenues abstain from voting to permit the actual drillsites
e) It does not mandate a setback or the watering down of flying, toxic, silica dust that trespasses off of the sites
f) It does not mandate electric rigs be used at all drilling sites
g) It does not mandate immediate flow back which can hurt the formation & sicken people…
3) We need state-of-the-art notifications systems in….
a) Letting everyone within a mile know drilling is being voted on…not just those within 600 feet of the affected area.
b) Letting people within a 1/2 mile know fracking & flowback is occurring to stay out of the area.
c) Letting people know the fire department is responding to a possible emission event in their area to stand by or start evacuating on their own.
Our Arlington 911 operators had the embarrassing and life threatening event in April of 2011 where two gas wells were spewing at the same time (across town from each other) and only dispatching to one of the affected areas (which delayed about 45 minutes of precious time). One resident, who had their windows open, was sickened by fumes that filled her home. I have been unsuccessful in getting back up electrical or diesel systems at our compressor station to prevent power outages that caused these problems at these two drill sites. Primary and secondary safety features have and continue to fail….our learning ground could end up being our burial ground.
Again and again I will ask the state to investigate these emergency calls and continue to point out where we need to improve….somebody has to do it. (It was through reporting these events that led to a couple inspectors going to the site and getting health effects themselves across from Camp Thurman where air samples came back no violations
4) The public needs to demand that our PAID media NOT have the appearance of a conflict of interest in down playing the seriousness of these emission events.
5) The public needs to know that our Barnett Shale air testing has been limited to mostly post production phases and not the drillling, fracking, & well clean up phases. They need to know that our Barnett Shale dry gas does have Benzene from the Colleyville Modern Geosciences study, and that those living in close proximity are risking their health and property values by the unknown, long term effects of repeated expsoures.
Readers here should visit the infamous “List of the Harmed” by Googling it for themselves and see over 300 stories of people impacted.
Finally, readers here should note these last links…..
Thank you for reading and acting to make us safer here.