EARTHblog » Sharon Wilson
April 15, 2011
UPDATE: news coverage
Texas has long been the capital of the U.S. oil and and gas industry. But the U.S. natural gas boom has brought a new wave of drilling activity to the state, with thousands of drilling rigs and production facilities puncturing the landscape of the region around Fort Worth, known as the Barnett Shale. The new boom and the state s industry-friendly regulatory system mean that Texas is failing to protect residents from the hazards of gas drilling and production.
That s what the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability says in a new report, Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety. The report, available online at bit.ly/TXOGAP-flowback, finds that authorities either lack the resources to deal with the air pollution, water contamination and other problems that accompany natural gas production; are limited in their response by inadequate laws and regulations; or continue in the long Texas tradition of favoring the oil and gas industry at the expense of citizens.
March 24, 2011
State Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland, chair of the Texas House Committee on Energy Resources, last week introduced a bill to require limited disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells. Since Texas currently has no disclosure requirements, we d like to be able to say HB 3328 is a step forward but we can t.
Why? Because, as Jim Hightower says, The water won t clear up until we get the hogs out of the creek.
The hogs in this instance are the oil and gas industry, which helped write the bill. Unsurprisingly, it does little to protect Texans right to know about chemicals that may contaminate their drinking water, but bends over backwards to protect the industry s interest in keeping its fracking formulas secret. The bill appears to be written largely from the perspective of industry and without much consideration for the landowners whose problems it is ostensibly trying to solve.