I attended the pre-council meeting at FW city hall on 12/08/09. All things considered this meeting displayed a clueless (or pretending to be clueless) city council and TCEQ. Considering that they have issued about 2,000 gas well permits and had numerous public and private discussions with the best gas drillers in the Barnett, one would expect them to be better informed about air quality. Their questions and comments were the epitome of people whose heads are in the sand or the money trough. Obviously, they have not been reading my emails over the past 5 years!
Moncrief, doing his best Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face impression, made a monumental effort to minimize the problem and insist that industry needs to be included in finding solutions to the minimal problems we might have. Coming out of the other side of his mouth were well-chosen words to indicate his concern for "the quality of life" in FW. I stand by all my "quotes" as, in the ballpark.
1) Parks Department head, Richard Zavala, speaking on a different topic than NG, had an interesting quote:
"We do what we're told around here."
How true... how true. The end message on his Powerpoint, quoting an old cowboy saying, read:
"When we take a man's money we ride for the brand."
This is interesting because Zavala has towed the line and carried water for Moncrief and allowed all kinds of intrusions by gas drillers into our public parks including, seismic testing, pipelines, etc. which make it easier for drillers to ruin the ambience of the park usage. The long-term and ongoing threats are significant. I assume he has designs on being the next mayor.
2) Speaking about the upcoming Super bowl at Cowboys Stadium, Moncrief said:
"The eyes of the world are going to be on FW in 2011."
He's right about that but for unintended reasons.
3) Moncrief repeatedly allowed Councilman, Sal Espino to speak at length, leading me to conclude that Sal is Moncrief's appointed heir in the next Mayoral race.
4) The TCEQ speaker, Keith Sheedy, made one of the worst presentations I've ever seen. He was constantly thrown off balance by his own and Moncrief's comments. He did claim that TCEQ would focus on FW in 2010 and that would be looking for things other than Benzene, including sulfides. They will "ask" industry if they are using Best Management Practices, IR camera technology, etc. to control their emissions.
5) Moncrief claims he wants BMP, more testing in FW to determine IF we have a problem. He suggested that the ambient air is already polluted from sources other than NG and wondered if and how TCEQ can distinguish the two. Commenting about the difference in DISH, Wise County, etc., he worried that we are not comparing apples to apples. That our air is clean and we are victims of their dirty air. He went on to say that determining air quality problems is NOT the job of the City of FW.
6) Councilman Jungus Jordan, chimed in that we are using green completions. Sheedy said that TCEQ does not issue permits for that. Someone else said that green completions do not impact air quality.
7) Councilman Joel Burns asked a few good questions of Sheedy, including:
"Who's in charge?"
8) Sheedy said that a mobile sampling truck was working in FW but that no major studies have happened yet. He blamed lack of funding. He did say that 30 agents had been in FW for 24 hours earlier this year.
9) Councilwoman, Kathleen Hicks made a long-ish speech expressing concerns but not to the extent or with the urgency I would have liked from her.
10) Councilman Zimmerman commented that FW should be a top priority due the large population. I could hear a collective gasp from rural residents in the BS.
11) Continuing his faux-concern for public health, Sal, questioned whether so-called, "dry gas", that is purportedly under FW is dangerous to public health.
"Dry gas DOES have Benzene."
12) Sheedy continued, "TCEQ can adopt emission rules as mandatory and specific rules for specific areas."
13) Councilman Danny Scarth, a man who has received cash from drillers for his campaign asked, "How far away from a gas facility does one have to be to be safe." Now there's a deep thinker for you.
14) Moncrief made a point of saying that he wants FW to lead the way in clean air investigations just as we have led the way in urban drilling.
15) Finally, the "M" word came up in a well-rehearsed moment and Moncrief turned to the city attorney and asked if gas drilling was still legal in Texas. With his head bobbing vigorously, the attorney voiced an emphatic, "YES!", thus quashing any further discussion of a moratorium in FW or the BS.
Just Saying "NO" since 2005!
"God bless Fort Worth, Texas. Help us save some of it."