Saturday, May 30, 2009
(By the way, how do you think the Trinity project passed??)
We found this online as a word document, it originally was posted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper.
Region’s clean- air plan is flawed, engineer reports
By Scott Streater
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Credit: Star-Telegram staff writer
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Edition: Tarrant, Section: Metro, Page B9
* The state says that waiting to put the plan into effect would do more harm than good.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area will never meet federal clean- air standards unless the state targets ozone-forming pollution from cement plants, natural gas compressor engines and other sources that affect Tarrant and Denton counties.
That’s one of the findings in a new study by Al Armendariz, a Southern Methodist University chemical engineer who has advised local advocates on ozone issues. Armendariz analyzed ozone patterns over the past 10 years and found that pollution levels have remained the same or risen slightly in Tarrant and Denton counties as they decreased elsewhere.
He attributed this to the increase in compressor engines used to produce natural gas in the Barnett Shale and to the cement plants in Ellis County, southeast of Fort Worth.
Yet a state clean- air plan for the Dallas-Fort Worth region mostly focuses on pollution that affects Frisco, in Collin County, even though the highest ozone levels in the past five years have been recorded in Tarrant County.
Armendariz said the state needs a new plan focusing on "those sources that affect Tarrant County and Denton County, because those are the sources that are putting everybody above the federal standard."
State regulators say revising the plan would take months and delay efforts to clean the air.
"Our thought process is we need to move forward as quickly as possible to bring the area into compliance," said Andy Saenz, a spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Al Armendariz, a chemical engineer at Southern Methodist University, studied ozone patterns and ozone-forming pollutants over the past 10 years and concluded that a state plan for reducing ozone in Dallas-Fort Worth is flawed. Armendariz shared his study this week with the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in Dallas. The EPA, which has expressed concern about the state plan, will not comment until it has finished its review of the plan, EPA spokesman Dave Bary said.
Armendariz’s study lists two main reasons that ozone-forming pollutant levels have remained steady, particularly in Tarrant County:
Gas compressor engines: The state has already conceded that it seriously undercounted the engines being used to compress natural gas produced in the Barnett Shale. It is trying to get a more accurate count. The state plan calls for emission controls on these engines.
Cement plants: While automakers and coal-fired power plants have been forced to cut emissions significantly in the past decade, the cement plants in Ellis County have not achieved similar reductions, according to Armendariz’s study. The state plan calls for those plants to cut emissions by 40 percent.
Armendariz said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality must completely revise the State Implementation Plan that it approved in May. Armendariz compared Texas’ plan with nine others and determined it "has the weakest computer modeling of any in the country." The problem, he said, is that the model is based on a sequence of high-ozone days in August 1999, when levels were highest in Frisco and Denton. That information is an "abnormality" within the past decade, he said. State regulators say the plan offers the best chance for the D-FW region to meet clean- air standards for the first time in decades.
The cement industry
The three cement kilns in Midlothian — Ash Grove Cement, Holcim and TXI Operations — are the largest industrial sources of ozone-forming pollution in Dallas-Fort Worth. But industry officials say they are making significant strides in reducing pollution. Ash Grove and Holcim have installed equipment in the last two years that can chemically alter some emissions into harmless water vapor. This has allowed Holcim to cut emissions of nitrogen oxides — the principal manmade component of ozone — by half in the past year, Holcim spokeswoman Susana Duarte de Suarez said. Ash Grove said it has slashed such emissions by nearly half since 1995 and is installing controls that will cut 30 percent more by next year.
The state plan has been widely criticized as weak. In July, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley asked Richard Greene, the EPA’s regional administrator, to strengthen the plan, in part because he wants cement plants cut pollution more. In September, Dallas County Judge Jim Foster asked Gov. Rick Perry to make the state plan stronger.
Why you should care
Ozone can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate emphysema, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. Children, older adults, people with respiratory problems and those who work outside are at greatest risk. Dallas-Fort Worth does not meet federal ozone standards and faces a 2010 deadline to meet them or face severe federal sanctions.
Friday, May 29, 2009
We keep hearing how Fort Worth is in financial trouble but when you attend council meetings, it sounds like we have all the money in the world.
We still have issue with spending millions to move so many things that are "in the way" of the Trinity project. If it ain't broke (and you are) don't fix it. We aren't the only ones...
"Next on Mr. Harwood's list of essentials was the police and fire training facility which will be in the way of Trinity Uptown. Therefore it will be necessary to build a new facility utilizing 75-300 acres (a rather flexible estimate) elsewhere about town. A previous estimate of the cost was in the stimulus request and amounted to $111,000,000. That would buy a helluva training facility. We'll see what it costs when we spend our own money. Harwood indicated a need to have an operating firing range within 2.5 years, dependent on Trinity Uptown construction."
The gas industry has been misleading us. No one that has had dealings with the gas industry and their hired politicians are surprised.
The "clean natural gas" myth has been debunked by none other than the State of Texas.
Mike Moncrief, Ed Ireland, Chesapeake, XTO and other environmental criminals were wrong.
Barnett Shale gas is now, officially, just another dirty fossil fuel and a major contributor to DFW smog.
200 TONS per day !!!!!
Dr. Al Armendariz of SMU, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) all agree that oil and gas development in the Barnett Shale is about equal to all the vehicles in the 9 county DFW Metroplex.
This particular study is ONLY about air quality.
When you factor in the water and safety issues, greenspace destruction and other quality of life issues, natural gas production is a significant endangerment to public health and safety.
Environmental Justice has been denied to people, pets and wildlife in the Barnett Shale.
Now the jig is up.
We are ready for some justice.
Read Dr. Armendaiz' press release and TCEQ data results below:
"God bless Fort Worth, Texas. Help us save some of it."
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Zim Zimmerman and Eric Fox.
All but one of the previous candidates are supporting Zim.
Mrs. Silcox supports Zim, so does Don Woodard.
Moncrief and Kay Granger support Fox.
Lots of good letters and info on Zim's site.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Editorial Board saying they are embarrassed by mayor and council due to the latest HUD fiasco, saying "few officials realized it or they ignored it or, worse yet, perhaps didn’t care enough to do something about it."
This coming from the same Editorial Board that supported all Fort Worth incumbents for relection this month?
"In addition, the government’s concern over the HUD allocation has caused officials to wonder whether the city is capable of handling money it would receive from the federal stimulus package".
Does this mean the government is catching on to what the people have been saying?
The newspaper also claims Fort Worth's budget is now $61 billion dollars short and growing. "Unlike the federal government, cities are prohibited by law from running deficits. The options for closing the gap aren’t pleasant.
This year’s budget shortfall is presenting a reality check for Fort Worth politicians and the populace. You can’t spend more than you bring in, and if you aren’t bringing in as much as before, you have two options: Raise taxes or cut services".
Jungas Jordan was there "on behalf of Mike Moncrief". The mayor was too busy to attend forums prior to the election (he did make it to one). Were we surprised he was too busy to pay his respect for those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom?
We asked the question yesterday if those who serve are bothered by the lack of voter participation. The speaker last night mentioned something along the same lines. He said we were in attendance because we felt it with every fiber of our being, it was something we must do, just like voting.
Later on the news we heard the sad statistic, 1/3 of Americans do not know what Memorial Day is for. How is this possible?
One of the veterans gave an interview, we liked what he had to say.
Bruscino is a member of the Lone Star Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. He said he was there to honor the war dead, which is what the holiday is all about. Forty years after he was paralyzed, the veteran admits he feels much more appreciated in 2009 than during wartime. "I'd say that was one of the lessons that people learned: that veterans were doing their jobs. And, if they want to get mad at somebody, get mad at the politicians, not the veterans."
Sunday, May 24, 2009
We wonder if soldiers are bothered that they protect a right and a freedom we posses but do not use? (We would ask those we know, but they happen to be busy protecting us at the moment, a special thanks to our Texas boys!) A right that many people were beaten, imprisoned and even died for. What would those involved think of today's elections? (6% voted).
It was important enough to die for, but those in the coming generations wont even use it? There were many people that we have to thank for our right to vote. People don't vote in their own city elections, why on earth not? These are as important as those in Washington.
When the polls open on Election Day, every citizen over the age of 18 will be able to cast a vote. It is a right we take for granted, one that defines our nation as a democracy. But universal suffrage — letting everyone vote — did not appear overnight with the ratification of our Constitution. Two hundred years ago, you had to be white, male, and wealthy in order to vote. The three people profiled on these pages dedicated their lives to changing that fact. Without them, suffrage might still be the privilege of a chosen few.
One of those dedicated was none other than Susan B. Anthony. She got in some legal trouble because she voted for a president in 1872. You can read her speech here.
Another sad mention for Memorial Day, kids attending school Monday. What? We have gotten the same response from everyone we told. "Are you kidding?" No, sadly, we are not.
How long was Fort Worth ISD out for Swine Flu? Did those kids have to make up all those days? Are the teachers going to get paid? (We think they should, but we also think kids shouldn't make up one day, especially if that day is Memorial Day). What, exactly, are we teaching them?
Friday, May 22, 2009
The sidewalk asks you not to drown it, sweep it instead, or something like that.
Sounds like there are some streets that didn't see the ad.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
What a tangled web...
WHO is JC Watts?
Last August the city of Irving was criticized for making a deal with Hugo, OK to purchase water. The mayor of Irving said he couldn't wait for the Tarrant Regional Water District or anyone else for something so crucial. Makes perfect sense to us.
The water district has spent their time and money on "more important" things like paying the Eppstein group to promote Trinity Uptown, paying lobbyist to secure more federal money for Trinity Uptown, and paying double the value for land needed for Trinity Uptown. (This week the water district agreed to spend $286,000 for a 0.3868 acre lot valued at $129,903).
Isn't their job to ensure we have water in the future and protect from flooding? Maybe the Irving mayor should run for the water board. We'd vote for him.
We love Fort Worth (that's why we live here) and we agree businesses are good for the area economy, however we couldn't help notice a few oddities with the article.
First, the study was done by the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Second, the article was written by the Executive Vice President for Economic Development with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
We would have let the mention of our advanced transportation infrastructure, including our interstate freeways, slide, had we not sat on one for an hour trying to go 10 miles earlier this week. Advanced is not the word that came to mind.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
When you look at Zim's opponent and where his donations come from you have to wonder what his goal is. Walsh Ranch is one of the contributors, we noticed this name came up in an earlier blog we used from Durango's site.
This time, GO VOTE! June 13th.
There has been talk of cutting more services and staff. So when you balance your checkbook and you fall short by a minimum of $55 million, do you go out house hunting? Yeah, us either. But this is Fort Worth, so last night they voted to spend $200,000 to see if the old Post Office will make a nice cushy new city hall. One that will cost somewhere between $4-6 million a year.
This was on the table two years ago but was put off due to costs. Were we in worse shape two years ago?
Is this the most pressing matter in the city? So much so it can't wait until say we have the money?
Does any of this remind you of TCC?
Where will the money come from???
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We wondered if we were the only ones that noticed something strange (more so than usual) taking place in Cowtown. Seems we are not, that Durango is pretty sharp.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Today on 970 AM both mayoral candidates Clyde Picht and Louis McBee were on air. Thanks to 970 for getting info out there! The DJ made several comments about the mayor's abscence. He also commented on Bryan Eppstein stating those campaigns he runs, the candidates usually are MIA.
What we don't get is why more people don't vote in their own elections than in the Presidental election? Yes, the Presidential race is important. But the race determining what happens in YOUR city is extremely important. It affects you daily and directly. So go vote tomorrow!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The room was split down the middle, those that favored the incumbents on one side and those that believe the city has lots of room for improvement, on the other.
As usual both Louis McBee and Clyde Picht were there and brought up very valid points.
The incumbents thanked the PD and FD for endorsing them, this was a surprise to some of the candidates as they thought they would be heard and then the group would decide on WHO they were endorsing. Maybe surprise is the wrong word, at this point in this election nothing would surprise them.
Kathleen Hicks arrived late, she then introduced her aunts that were present and told us her mom was a judge.
Some claim Danny Scarth seemed to fall asleep a couple of times. Let's hope if he stays in office he can stay awake for council meetings.
Jordan Jungas tried to quote something from Romans 12. We aren't sure what he said. Something about his grandkids were the most important thing, while that is a given, maybe he should have talked about how important the citizens are.
District 3 is crowded with lots of good folks running for Silcox's seat. They were all down to earth and well educated on the issues. Fox was not present.
The mayor spoke of inclusion and transparency and how Fort Worth is the 9th safest city. We aren't sure where this statistic comes from, but we are guessing gas drilling, air quality, flooding, etc. is not included in the "safest" ranking.
The district we heard the least about has been 7. The imcumbent was not present, however the candidate was very impressive. Charlie Murphy talked of how he learned about drilling in Fort Worth. At first, it all sounded great, free money. Then he began to learn more and became concerned, he thought, "This can't be happening in Fort Worth". So he attened a council meeting and guess what? Drilling was on the agenda. He said those folks lost. Not one person on the council stood up to protect that neighborhood. We looked him up and found questions he answered in an earlier interview here.
VOTE ON SATURDAY!!!
We've gotten many notes today concerning the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper losing the election letters. Timing is everything.
And we were very sad to see the Fort Worth Weekly newspaper didn't have election coverage. They are usually the voice of the citizens.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Some say they will have coverage Saturday. That will help. It will be over. (for now)
Many of the 24 candidates were present. They had lots to say. Too bad the people of Fort Worth didn't get to hear it.
This was the first one the mayor had time to attend, out of about a dozen. Then it was announced he wouldn't be staying. People actually laughed.
Irving man burned, house exploded.
Shreveport cattle dead. What's next?
Or as the people on Carter say, WHO's next?
Who approves where the pipelines go???
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Jim Dunaway was one.
We found this post titled "Corrupt Conflicts of Interest Taking over Fort Worth" on the Durango Texas Blog in which Jim Dunaway appears.
Corrupt Conflicts Of Interest Taking Over Fort Worth
UPDATED: 1/6/09--New info about the infamous map
UPDATED: 1/5/09--New input from a reliable source I will refer to as Deep Throat
That's a map on the left. Some call it an infamous map. Why, you ask? Well, that map was found at what is known as the Thomas well site. The Thomas well site is the Chesapeake Energy drill site that has stirred so much controversy due to it being next to Tandy Hills Park. And being part of the Tandy Hills.
So, why is this map infamous, you continue to ask? Well, the map belonged to and was made by Dunaway Associates. That's a consulting firm.
Big deal, you're thinking. Well, Jim Dunaway was one of the developers on the first Gas Drilling Task Force. The Task Force makes decisions regarding drilling. The company Jim Dunaway's father founded and ran for years is directly involved in the destruction of land next to Tandy Hills Natural Area. Dunaway work trucks have been photographed at the Thomas/Tandy Hills drilling site.
The infamous Thomas well site map gets most of its infamy due to the fact that, despite Chesapeake Energy applying for and getting approval for a single gas well permit at this particular site, the map clearly shows more than one gas well.
Task Force member, Gary Hogan, reports that Dunaway did not participate much in the first Task Force. Dunaway was replaced, early on, by Walsh Ranch representative, Rob Green. He being another pro-driller. Dunaway has extensive connections at city hall. Regardless of the amount of time Dunaway spent on the Task Force, this still was a fox in the chicken coop situation, with Dunaway later profitting from drilling operations he was, earlier, part of overseeing.
To help set government policy for some business activity from which you profit is generally thought of as a conflict of interest. This is usually frowned upon, sometimes to such a degree that those participating in such dubious deeds end up doing jail time and paying large fines.
Jim Dunaway is also a contributor to Mike Moncrief's election campaigns.
A reliable, anonymous source, I will call Deep Throat, had this to say about Jim Dunaway, "I'll quickly note, not for attribution, but for your info, that whenever I see Jim Dunaway associated with something I already know it's wrong and probably evil. He is a lowlife SOB that has not an inkling or care about the world we live in. Other than that, he is probably a fine person."
For some unfathomable reason, Mike Moncrief continues to avoid being charged with serious conflicts of interests, while Moncrief and his wife have substantial holdings in most of the gas drillers operating in Fort Worth. In other words, Moncrief profits from the operations he is part of regulating.
And in yet one more example of a conflict of interest, this morning I learned that Lead Gas Drilling Inspector, David Lunsford, now works for a pipeline company. Lunsford has been quoted as saying he rarely received complaints. Lunsford was known to dismiss gas drilling concerns out of hand. One can not help but wonder how much effort Lunsford put into protecting the public, when he had a cushy pipeline job waiting for him.
And then we have Don Behrens. Hired by the City of Fort Worth to consult and offer advice to the city and the Gas Drilling Task Force on sound mitigation. He is now selling products to Barnett Shale drillers. At one point Behrens had a monopoly on sound mitigation blankets. Behrens had a direct influence on the sound mitigation rules specified in the city's sound mitigation ordinance. Behrens misrepresented his Los Angeles drilling experience to the FW City Council and the Task Force.
Why are these type conflict of interests allowed in Fort Worth? I don't know. It's like there is no oversight.
I can't imagine the same type thing happening in Seattle. If the mayor had a vested interest in Starbucks he knows he would have to recuse himself from having any part in approving or disapproving some request from Starbucks. That's only common sense. Except in Fort Worth, where an entirely different set of rules apply to how things get done.
Oscar Trevino -
Current Mayor of North Richland Hills and well, read other info below.
In the daily paper in February he was mentioned prominently. Since the link to the story was "not found" and the length of the story was considerable, we'll just share the highlights we found online elsewhere. Although this brings up so many more questions of WHO???
After committing more than a quarter of a million dollars in lobbying fees for a major transportation bill, North Texas officials are asking suburban cities to step up with more money to push the legislation "over the goal line."
Fort Worth, Arlington and the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition have agreed to pay HillCo $275,000 for its transportation lobbying efforts. The coalition and Fort Worth approved separate contracts of $100,000 each, while Arlington authorized $75,000.
"We need the participation of our region's suburban cities to muster the resources we need to achieve success," said the letter from Mayors of Burleson and Oscar Trevino of North Richland Hills. Shetter is coalition chairman and Trevino, a former chairman, is on the executive committee.
In the letter, the mayors proclaimed a "good start" on behalf of the funding bill but said "it is going to take a monumental effort to get us over the goal line. ... While smaller cities can't match the large commitments Fort Worth and Arlington have made, we can and should do our part."
The state government is prohibited from using public money for lobbying services, but the prohibition does not extend to cities, said Tim Sorrells, a spokesman for the Texas Ethics Commission. City officials say professional on-the-ground lobbyists are vital to help cities with their legislative needs, although some taxpayer advocates criticize the expenditure of tax money to private lobbying firms.
Shetter said coalition officials considered other firms but agreed that HillCo, with its track record for success, had the best chance of reversing North Texas' fortunes from the previous legislative session. "You want sort of the biggest, baddest partner you can get," the Burleson mayor said.
Fort Worth is finalizing its $100,000 transportation contract to HillCo after it was approved by the City Council , said Reid Rector, the city's director of governmental relations.
The fee for transportation lobbying, he said, is separate from Fort Worth's $93,000 contract with HillCo to represent the city's other legislative issues in Austin, Rector said.
Although elected officials also participate in the effort and make contact with lawmakers, Miller said, HillCo is "quarterbacking the play" and directing strategy." "We have to persuade people to support it, to find ways to make it attractive to them," he said. "Or to persuade them that their opposition is unwarranted. It's a classic lobby deal."
Oh that's right, Swine flu. Does Dallas not know about this? Someone must warn them.
So if less people get out, there would be more mail in ballots? Lots of talk about mail in ballots on West and Clear.
Seems we weren't the only ones noticing the difference in the Sunday paper.
We then read Durango's take on it. He makes us laugh.
And just now we got a copy of an email from another that makes us see - we are not alone.
This was sent to the top brass and letter department at the daily paper. It looks like after that, it went to lots of folks. Thanks for sharing!
For the past several weeks I have seen MANY letters supporting Clyde Picht in the paper, few for Moncrief. On the days there were any for Moncrief there were the same number for Clyde. Days there were none for Moncrief tells me you are receiving more letters from average folks for Clyde. With this "fairness" and the stories both about the mayoral race and the City pulling the plug on the candidate interviews, I started to think the paper is changing! They are actually going to do fair, non biased reporting now, not be the shill for the city they have become over the years. Ah, but I forgot about the Editorial Board. Their disappointing "KEEP ALL THE INCUMBENTS" propaganda was the same as it is every year...reminds me of last year when they wanted to keep Brimer. (Though the ST now praises Wendy Davis, how quickly we forget). And then I saw the Letters to the Editor in the Sunday edition, with two glowing letters for Moncrief and none for Clyde. What a blatant slight. As well as a huge indicator Paul is gone, and with him whatever trust I had remaining in the local paper. It has become so one-sided and sensational that I skip most of it anyway, reading the letters to see what is really going on in the citizens world. The one those of us, not on city council, or working at the paper, live in.