Argyle Gas Well Drilling Controversy
CW 33 | Ashley Roberts
April 22, 2011
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About a year ago, the Town of Argyle gave companies like Williams Production and Hillwood International Energy the green light to drill on its gas wells. But now, some residents are worrying how this could be affecting their countryside community, including Dezra Edwards, who has lived here for four years. Lately she’s been questioning the quality of life here.
"I don't think the city council has really done their job in making sure that the community and citizens are aware," says Edwards.
She believes the Argyle Town Council has not been an open book with its residents, and it has gotten her fired up about the issue.
"I want to bring up my child in a place that he's able to climb trees, and he's able to be around other children," says Edwards.
But now she’s worried these drilling sites could be affecting her family’s health. Particularly her young son, who had a tumor removed, but is now experiencing new symptoms.
"My son actually has been having headaches, which I don't know if they're associated with this or not,” she says.
Argyle Town Councilwoman, Bonny Haynes, says the community has valid concerns, but says not everybody in the community is worried.
“We have to work on what’s in the best interest of everybody, and a lot of these people here you know, stand to make quite a bit of money,” says Haynes.
Many Argyle residents have mineral ownership rights and earn royalties from the gas well drilling.
“I don’t think that their interests are superior over anybody’s health, and I think that needs to be monitored all the time,” she says.
But Texas organizer for Earth Works’ oil and gas accountability project, Sharon Wilson, says gas well drilling health reports show the same symptoms and problems time and time again.
She gave us a statement saying, “The report flowback shows that the health consequences are widespread and serious. It’s time for the media, politicians, and industry to stop saying “alleged” health effects. The same things are happening all over the nation.”
Councilwoman Haynes isn’t buying into it and belives there are probably more health problems coming from auto transmissions.
“We have 50 suburbans sitting in front of our schools, picking up kids every day with their motors running, idoling, and that’s probably causing a lot of air quality problems,” she says.
Residents like Edwards hope to find more answers and an overall solution. But Councilwoman Haynes says they have little control over drilling decisions. She says if they did not approve the gas well drilling, then the Town of Argyle would be spending tax payer dollars in court battles with these companies.
“I don’t think that we’re hiding anything from any of the citizens. We’re really an open book and if any of the citizens want help with anything, I’m willing to help,” says Haynes.