Oct 21st, Denton, TX — Newly released infrared videos taken over the past three months show that oil and gas air pollution is ongoing, chronic, and unaddressed in Denton, Texas despite assurances of safety by industry. The videos make visible normally invisible volatile organic compounds emissions (VOCs) — such as carcinogens like benzene.
“These videos prove to Denton residents that, even as they go to the polls bombarded with industry promises of ‘responsible drilling’, those promises are empty.” said Earthworks’ Texas organizer Sharon Wilson. She continued, “Instead, we’re getting polluted with ongoing, long-term exposure to poisonous volatile organic compounds.”
FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) cameras are used by the oil and gas industry and government regulators specifically to detect leaks of volatile organic compounds. The videos released today were taken by an ITC certified Optical Gas Imaging thermographer using a FLIR GF 320 camera.
The Denton City Council promised at a 2013 public meeting to monitor air pollution from oil and gas operations. It has not done so. When individual instances of pollution have been brought to the attention of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has dismissed them, claiming they didn’t violate short-term pollutant exposure standards. The videos released today show the pollution to be long-term.
“Citizens shouldn’t have to measure fracking air pollution. That’s government’s job,” said Cathy McMullen, president of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group and Frack Free Denton. She continued, “But when citizens provide proof of pollution, regulators need to investigate, not dismiss the problem. The fact that government neither detected the pollution, nor acted upon previous evidence of pollution, is a main reason why we need to ban fracking in Denton.”