Since HB40 took away our right to ban fracking at the local level Texans need new ways to protect our homes and families. Now more than ever, Texans need our regulators, the Texas Railroad Commission, to rein in the oil and gas industry and protect our basic rights.
For the past year I have been travelling the country exposing otherwise invisible air pollution from fracking and fracking-related development. In 2014, Earthworks was able to buy a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) Gasfinder 320 camera thanks to the generous support of our members and donors. This camera is the gold-standard of oil and gas pollution detection. Industry and government alike use the same model camera and have the same certification I do to operate it. The camera detects methane and about 20 different volatile organic compounds that are health-harming and climate polluting.
I spent eight hours in Denton on Tuesday night at a city council hearing to consider a ban on fracking in city limits, and during that time, I saw the oil and gas industry do what they do best. And that’s not drilling and fracking, folks. It’s bullying, lying, spreading propaganda and fear mongering. Their behavior and dirty tricks were abysmal and fooled no one who mattered; even the Council called them out on it.
The good news is that I also saw the people of Denton, nearly 100 of them, stand up and speak for their rights to clean air, and to quiet neighborhoods, and healthy kids. The bad news is that the city council listened to the industry suits, wearing nice shoes and representing oil and gas companies and mineral rights owners intent on profiting from other people’s misery. At 3AM, the city council voted against a ban, sending the question to the ballot measure in the fall.
A bus load of Texans made the ground shake in Austin this week.
And I’m still shaking! Their dedication to helping others and protecting our communities, homes and children is truly inspiring.
More than 50 Texans from North Texas (the area around Azle) took time off from work and school, woke up at 3am and sat on a bus for eight hours to tell our government officials we need immediate action to stop fracking related earthquakes.
This week residents in Mansfield, Texas were alarmed by a shower of foam that “shot back up the hole” of the too-close-to-their-homes EagleRidge Energy (EagleRidge) gas well. The foam hung in trees and covered their yards for hours.
EagleRidge said the foam was industrial soap used as a lubricant. Mansfield firefighters tested it and “found nothing toxic.” The residents should request MSDS sheets.
At least they didn’t say it was Dove Soap, as other fracking industry representatives have done.
When fracking happens there are documented impacts to people and the environment:.
- Federal government has both failed to respond and has actively walked away from these impacts.
- State regulators are guilty of malfeasance.
- Documentation of harm is denied and kept secret.
This pattern repeats itself all across the United States and the globe.
We already know that EagleRidge is a terrible neighbor!
- An EagleRidge Operating worker was indicted in June 2012 on a felony charge of illegally dumping. City employees visiting the company’s well site in the 3100 block of Airport Road found a pump forcing contaminated water into a tributary of Hickory Creek. LINK
- EagleRidge was operating wells in Denton without a permit. LINK
- EagleRidge had a blowout in Denton that got "sanitized." LINK But it didn't stay "sanitized." LINK
- EagleRidge is drilling in a Denton neighborhood less than 200 feet from homes.
- EagleRidge is drilling in Mansfield and polluting air, violating sound ordinances and dividing neighbors. LINK
I know you will be shocked, Dear Readers, but according to a new report by WFAA’s Brett Shipp (see video below), the Texas Railroad Commission did not apply its own Statewide Rule 13 in the Range Resources water contamination case in Parker County. They also ignored in their court hearing a violation they issued to Range.
For some background on this case, see. “…I told you so.” Also, the Court of Appeals recently sent the SLAPP suit Range filed against the Lipskys back for “abatement” but industry trade groups continue to ignore this new ruling linking instead to the district court rulings by the now disgraced Judge Trey Loftin.