Gas Drilling’s Toxic Cloud Exposed

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Posted March 3, 2010 by Jeff Prince in Blotch

DISH, the little town that packs a big punch when it comes to making life uncomfortable for gas drillers, is hosting a Town Hall meeting at 7 tonight

to reveal some startling information.

Texas OGAP’s Wilma Subra and DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman are sharing the results of an air quality survey that they say contradicts the gas industry’s claims of safe air.

An undercover team in an unmarked white van patrolled the DISH area to test a new measurement technology that enables drive-by emissions testing of air quality. A team of experts, including Subra, an environmental chemist, and a representative with Wolf Eagle Environmental, found significantly elevated methane and hydrogen sulfide gas emissions.

“Methane is a indicator for benzene, xylene and other toxic and carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs),” Subra said in a press release announcing tonight’s meeting.


One Comment


  1.  
    jeff.prince

    Here’s Texas OGAP’s version of last night’s events:

    “Stealth” Measurements of Air Quality Contradict
    Shale Gas Industry Claims of Safe Air

    DISH, TX, 3/4 – Yesterday a team of environmental scientists presented findings from a novel two day emissions gas detection project showing methane levels as much as 20 times above normal background levels in the air around several counties in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

    “These findings raise troubling questions about shale gas industry pollution not only in Texas but for states nationwide where shale gas drilling and production is planned or underway,” said Wilma Subra, EARTHWORKS board member, environmental chemist and MacArthur grant recipient.

    The results were collected over the past two days by an undercover team driving an unmarked white van around the metroplex to test a new measurement technology that enables drive-by emissions testing on shale gas drilling and pumping facilities — without leaving the vehicle or slowing down from normal driving speeds.

    Methane is a surrogate gas for benzene, xylene and other toxic and carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As a greenhouse gas that is roughly four-times more potent than CO2, methane is also a significant contributor to the ongoing climate crisis.

    The results were presented to an overflow crowd at the DISH town hall where Mayor Calvin Tilman had called a special meeting to discuss the findings. DISH and other metroplex residents are concerned shale gas industry pollution are behind serious health problems in the area.

    The sampling team, which included Wilma Subra and environmental testing firm Wolf Eagle Environmental, was able to approach and circle the pumping facilities without detection. Previously, companies that own and operate the shale gas installations had spotted sampling teams and turned off compressor and other production operations that produce emissions gases.

    In one area, concentrations of methane from emissions plumes were so high that the instrument – manufactured by Picarro Inc. — reached the higher end of its detection range at 40-50 parts per million. When Subra and Wolf Eagle Environmental CEO Alisa Rich contacted air quality regulators, they learned that the Flower Mound facility had failed to report an emissions event, as required by state and federal law.

    “These jaw-dropping results show that the shale gas industry is not to be trusted with public health”, said Sharon Wilson, organizer for the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project. She continued, “Drilling can only be done right with adequate supervision and enforcement. Texas OGAP and EARTHWORKS are considering ways to bring unannounced emissions detection to other shale gas regions – and other mining, digging and drilling facilities — around the country.”

    Texas OGAP works with communities statewide to prevent and minimize the impacts caused by energy development. EARTHWORKS has 29,000 members nationwide, and offices in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Texas and Washington, D.C.





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