FW Weekly knocks it out of the park again! Hats off to the Weekly and all the HEROs listed in the article. WHY do they do it? For THE PEOPLE!
It would have raised eyebrows if they had told us our property values would be devalued, or that we’d have 14,000 gas wells in the Barnett Shale and only 12 [Texas] Railroad Commission inspectors.”
Ten years and 1,800 rigs (just in Fort Worth) later, many of the worries are no longer theoretical, even if industry officials still deny the connection. The health problems are real, inadequate monitoring of air pollution has finally gotten the attention of state legislators, and groundwater problems have prompted some drillers to buy out farmers and ranchers whose only source of water was wells drilled into now-tainted aquifers. The EPA has stepped in.
TCEQ tests in the Barnett Shale area had shown “some of the highest benzene concentrations we have monitored in the state,” she said.
All three families had to haul water onto their properties for more than two and a half years before Williams finally settled with them this fall — by buying all three of the properties.
That kind of potential for long-term threat to critical water supplies is what makes the gas-well-and-water-well collision so scary in North Texas.
In early 2010, Brian Boerner, then Fort Worth’s environmental management director, talked to Fort Worth Weekly about his concerns with Fort Worth’s single gas-industry waste disposal well.
Boerner — who went on to take a job with Chesapeake — said then that the city had “significant concerns” about groundwater contamination from such wells, which the EPA has repeatedly expressed concern over. He’d previously said that such wells should be the last option considered by the city for disposing of gas industry wastes
And hey Southlake, go visit with Flower Mound...
When it comes to standing up to the gas industry, few cities top Flower Mound. The city was among the first to establish 1000-foot setbacks in the Barnett Shale, in 2003. Last year, the city put a moratorium on new gas well applications and created an advisory board to look at beefing up the ordinance even more. In December, the city’s Oil and Gas Board of Appeals squelched an attempt to drill for gas near Lake Grapevine, citing concerns about the impact on a major source of drinking water. Residents have loudly expressed concerns about drilling’s impact on air, soil, water, and public safety.
“Flower Mound doesn’t see [drilling] as a revenue source for the city — the health and safety of residents is our first priority,” city spokesman Michael Ryan said. “Flower Mound has never shied away from a controversy when it’s been of the opinion that it’s for the protection of the residents.”
Gas companies have filed lawsuits against the city a few times over the years, but the city hasn’t lost a case or paid a dime in settlement, he said.