Friday, June 25, 2010

Someone's listening?!

Finally.  Congratulations to Jim Ashford!  Read the article about ethics in Fort Worth, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

It may be an inherent conflict of interest to allow gas company employees to serve on committees that oversee their industry, the city's Ethics Review Committee ruled Thursday.

The panel made the ruling in a case about the makeup of the city's Air Quality Study Committee, which was formed to examine potentially toxic emissions at natural gas sites.

If upheld, the ruling could have far-reaching ramifications because most of the city's regulations on gas drilling were written by committees that included representatives from the gas industry. At least one of the companies plans to appeal the ruling to the full Fort Worth City Council.

The council appointed the air quality committee in March to find a way to determine the level of toxic emissions around gas sites, and its findings could lead to new gas drilling regulations in the city.

The 10-member committee includes three representatives from major drilling companies: Devon Energy, XTO Energy and Chesapeake Energy.

Chesapeake Vice President Julie Wilson said the company will vigorously appeal.

Jim Ashford, an east Fort Worth resident who is suing Chesapeake over noise and air pollution from a compressor station near his house, filed the ethics complaint in the spring. He said it was improper for the gas companies to have representatives on a committee that is studying pollution potentially caused by their industry.

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