No matter how much we cover the gas drilling around these parts, there seems to always be more to mention.

This week is no exception. As Tuesday’s City Council meeting, between 15-20 citizens spoke up with regard to the makeup of the committee which will choose the company and scope of Fort Worth’s ambient air study. “And we were unanimous in our objection to gas industry people being on that committee,” said Gary Hogan, a former member of both of Fort Worth’s gas drilling ordinance committees. “But the mayor was adamant that the gas industry be represented. Why? Why should the gas industry have any say in who gets to study the air quality around gas wells? Why should they have a say in who gets to test them and what will be tested for when they’re the people and industry being studied?”

The mayor won out and the gas industry will be well represented, something Hogan says could compromise the credibility of the study. “I saw it with the gas drilling ordinance committees and I think we will see it here. I know how the industry can steer these committees through city staff to get what they want.”

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Speaking of air quality, a recent study in DISH, the tiny town at the epicenter of the Barnett Shale play, showed plumes of methane gas traveling as far as a mile from their origin at the huge compressor site there. And in Flower Mound, a plume of methane from a well was measured at over two miles long and a mile-and-a-half wide. “I was in the vehicle when the test was done,” said Hogan. “And it was off the chart. And where you have methane from gas operations, you have all of the other chemicals as well, from benzene on down the line.”

Flower Mound was also the location of a pretty good sized frac water spill at a Williams Petroleum drill site recently. 80 barrels, about 3,300 gallons of the poisonous fluids escaped.

And up near the Denton County line, Aruba Petroleum has a leak at one of their well sites. According to Sharon Wilson, of Texas OGAP,, bubbles started appearing in a sludge pit at a well site several weeks ago. The people whose property the site sits on noticed that not only were there bubbles–and indication of gas leagage–but that the water in the pit was turning red–an indication of the presence of methane.

The bubbles started at one spot but spread to several others in the pit. The Railroad Commission was called and came to inspect the site but “just scratched their heads and said they didn’t seen any bubbles” said Wilson.

A video of the bubbling pit was sent to the EPA, which responded quickly and had the pit drained and the sludge removed. “They had Aruba cart it away because it’s so toxic.”

But the leak is evidently ongoing. When it rained recently water gathered in the empty pit and that too soon began to bubble and an oily slick is now forming on top of it.

“There is a leak there, no doubt,” said Wilson. “Whether it’s in a pipeline or the bore, I don’t know. But there is a leak and something needs to be done about it, and soon.”