Important City Council Meeting Tonight

City Council will be voting on P & Z's proposed gas well drilling ordinance amendments tonight. We need the chambers to be packed to show support for the first phase of amendments to the gas well drilling ordinance. There were quite a few representatives from the drilling industry at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week who spoke against the revisions. After listening to several Denton residents, the P & Z Commission adjusted the original proposed amendments as follows:
  • The set back will remain at 1000 feet but can be lowered to 500 feet rather then 250 feet
  • The allowable decibel increases can only occur during the day
  • Fees charged to the drilling companies have been greatly increased to cover the cost of processing drilling permits and future inspections
Here is the DRC's story of last Wednesday's meeting.

It is anticipated that the gas industry will send out their representatives tomorrow. We need to make sure the council remembers that their first duty is to protect the health and safety of Denton residents and should thus should vote YES. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Meeting begins at 6:30 in the Council Chambers inside of City Hall. The address is 215 E. McKinney.
Hope to see you there!

TCEQ DFW Clean Air Public Meeting

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the New DFW Clean Air Plan next Thursday, June 24th, at Arlington City Hall (same location as the March ozone hearing) from 7-9pm. This meeting is being organized because DFW violated the federal smog/ozone standard last summer, and the TCEQ is responsible to create a plan to bring our area back into attainment. This meeting will allow North Texans to ask questions and offer suggestions on HOW and WHAT to include in this New DFW Clean Air Plan. Our message is simple: Citizens Demand the Same Pollution Controls for Industry as for Our Autos!
What Should the New Plan Accomplish?

Adopt all the recommendations from the 2006 local clean air committee that were dumped by the state four years ago. (YES, most of this same clean air planning work has been done before and was rejected by Austin/TCEQ!)

Crackdown on industry as much as my car. Demand 90% controls on coal, kilns and gas. (The industrial technology exists and is in USE across the country/world, just not in TX.)

Do more than the minimum. No more paper exercises. Go further than required. (We’re looking for more than a “goal seek” solution.)

Aim the plan where smog pollution is worst: Tarrant, Denton, Wise, and Parker Counties. (Asthma rates for children under 14 are THREE TIMES HIGHER (22%) in western DFW area than across the state of TX!)

There’s a pre-meeting meetup at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop (510 E. Abram St, 3 blks from City Hall) at 6pm for anyone interested. Get your tacos and beer buzz on to get you in the mood!

For more information or to carpool, please contact the North Central Texas Clean Air Task Force: dfwsip@gmail.com or 972.230.3185.

Another chance to see Gasland

If you were unable attend either of the screenings of the documentary Gasland, you have another chance on June 21st at 9 P.M. EDT. Invite your friends and family or get signed up with Josh Fox and Texas OGAP to host a GASLAND HBO Movie Watch Party!


Handy Toolkit/Guide

Josh Fox's PBS Interview

Variety Review

Natural Gas Facility Explodes in Cleburne- 1 Dead

Witnesses reported seeing a blaze that covered a circumference of 400 to 600 feet after a natural gas line exploded...CBS Channel 11

This is why a 500 foot setback is not okay from homes, schools, parks, hospitals....

"Laura Harlin, who lives about a mile from the scene, told CNN she heard a rumbling noise that sounded like a jet engine when the explosion occurred. She said her house shook and the rumbling lasted for about 10 minutes. " -from the Washington Post

Photos of the explosion.
Wake up Denton! The city is working on the city wide ordinance right now.  The current proposal is to have a setback of 1000 feet but with a possible allowable variance of 500 feet.  What happens is the gas companies sweep in promise royalties and give assurances that drilling will be safe.  That is how we now have the wells across from McKenna park. The same promises were given to the people of Corinth but luckily they realized what was happening before it was too late.

Get Involved in the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission's Review of the TCEQ

From the Alliance for a Clean Texas blog:
June 10th Call Kicks Off Our TCEQ Sunset Campaign!

Mark your calendar now for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday June 10th! That’s the time ACT is hosting our state-wide call to kick off our TCEQ Sunset campaign. All Texans committed to protecting our state’s environment and health are invited to participate in the call.

ACT organizations around the state are working together to make this a milestone year for environmental protection in Texas. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is currently under review by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. Now is the time to turn our concerns about how TCEQ does and does not do its job of protecting our environment and our health into real, lasting reform. It’s a chance that comes only once a decade. We’re coming together so our lawmakers know that Texans all over the state want the same thing–clean air, clean water and the safe disposal of waste–and expect their state environmental agency to do the job.
The June 10th call kicks off our campaign. We’ll explain the sunset process, hear from policy experts, and talk about what activists around the state are doing to involve and inspire their communities. We’re especially excited to introduce the TCEQ Sunset Town Halls–a series of events that environmental organizations throughout Texas are planning for early fall. Right now, town halls are in the works all over the state–from Brownsville to Abilene, Nacogdoches to El Paso. Find out if one is planned for your community–and learn how you can help organize one.

Here are the details for the call:

  • What: TCEQ Sunset Campaign Information Call
  • When: Thursday June 10 6:30-7:30
  • Who: All Texans Standing Up for the Environment, for Public Health and for a Stronger TCEQ
  • Why: To learn about the TCEQ Sunset review and why reforming the TCEQ is the biggest environmental campaign of the year
  • How: At 6:30 p.m. on June 10th, call 866-501-6174. The access code for the call is 31794011892 The call will last one hour.
Share this flyer!!

"...TCEQ will continue to hide data crucial to the public health" says State Senator Wendy Davis

There were additional findings that were not disclosed in last week's revelation by TCEQ. Senator Davis released this press statement in response to the revelations of additional benzene exposures in Tarrant county.

Wilma Subra to speak on AIR QUALITY - Health Impacts To You and Your Children

Wilma Subra will speak at the NCTCA meeting Thursday, June 3rd.  Please look at this previous post to learn more at Mrs. Subra.
AIR QUALITY: The Health Impacts to You and Our Children
When: Thursday, June 3, 2010
2000 Beach Street and IH30
Fort Worth, Texas 76103
Networking @ 6:30 pm
Meeting @ 7:00 pm

Wilma Subra has been a board member of EARTHWORK's Oil and Gas Accountability Project since 2005 and she is a member of the Texas OGAP Steering Committee. Wilma has traveled to the Barnett Shale area several times assisting Texas OGAP and community's effected by Barnett Shale drilling.

Mrs. Subra holds degrees in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. She received the MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" Award from the MacArthur Foundation for helping ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues in their communities. She also was one of three finalists in the Environmental Category of the 2004 Volvo for Life Award.

While filming the 5th Wheels...

This happened. (please pardon the typos)
In a previous post, we discussed a "spill"(dump) at Range Resources' Rayzor Ranch drill site. Somehow, I missed a request from a reader to add a video of the "supposed" 5th wheels.  So...

Texas' environmental commission serves its customers well. Too bad they're not the public.

TCEQ is exposed- thanks to the Observer's Forrest Wilder!

...both its critics and friends will agree on this: TCEQ is no EPA. While the federal agency is a favorite punching bag of right-wing Texas politicians like Gov. Rick Perry, you don’t hear warnings ringing out about the evils of the TCEQ. That’s because, in decision after decision, the Texas agency that’s supposed to protect the public and the environment has sided with polluters.

Perry, who appoints the three TCEQ commissioners, and the TCEQ bosses say they’ve strived to balance economic growth with protecting the environment. It doesn’t feel that way to the agency’s fierce and numerous critics.

“The problem with some of my colleagues’ balancing is they always balance it toward economic development and don’t let the environment have an equal consideration,” says Larry Soward, a former TCEQ commissioner who now works with environmental groups on strategies to improve the agency....

This quote sums up the state government's approach to protecting the health, safety and welfare of all Texans:
 “It’s never been worse,” says Jim Schermbeck of the clean-air group Downwinders at Risk. “Perry makes Bush look like a Greenpeace smokestack-sitter.”

Here is the part of the story about TCEQ's love of the Barnett Shale

Since 2005, a drilling frenzy in the Barnett Shale—an extensive geological formation with trillions of cubic feet of natural gas—has overtaken much of urban and suburban Fort Worth. It’s been a bonanza for gas producers, local government coffers, and residents receiving royalty checks. But there’s a backlash, fueled by fears of groundwater contamination, pipeline explosions, and evidence that at least some of the 14,000 wells drilled so far are leaking dangerous toxins into the air.

Last September, the tiny town of DISH—frustrated by the lack of action on TCEQ’s part—announced the results of a bombshell air-quality study it spent 10 percent of the town’s annual budget to commission from outside experts. Air samples from residential areas near gas-compressor stations contained high levels of benzene, and other carcinogens and neurotoxins—much higher than TCEQ health-based standards. Evidence in hand, DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman, a conservative who’s become the bane of North Texas gas interests, called on the industry to clean up its act or get out of town.

The fallout from the DISH study prompted TCEQ to do its own testing during three days in December. On Jan. 12, Deputy Director John Sadlier presented the much-anticipated results to the Fort Worth City Council.

“Everything you hear today will be good news,” Sadlier told the packed council meeting. The commission staff, he said, had visited 126 sites in the Fort Worth area and found no evidence of benzene or other cancer-causing chemicals. “Based on this study, the air is safe,” Sadlier told the council.

Later, Mayor Mike Moncrief, who comes from a prominent oil and gas family, pronounced himself “grateful” for the results. Since that burst of good news, Fort Worth city officials, including Moncrief, have generally resisted calls to impose more stringent rules on gas drilling. “Sadlier’s comments only emboldened the council’s belief that the air quality is okay,” wrote Don Young, a drilling reform activist in Fort Worth.

If council members had squinted, they would have seen a disclaimer stamped at the bottom of each page of Sadlier’s PowerPoint presentation: “This data is for screening purposes only and may include samples that did not meet the established quality control acceptance criteria,” the disclaimer read.

As drilling activists discovered, the state’s study was rubbish. The testing was done on cold days, when benzene tends to be inactive. The inspectors took samples only if the levels measured 140 times the Metroplex average—far above state health standards. Only eight samples were collected.

Confronted with these facts, commission PR staffers stuck with the original message. “We were trying to do that really fast,” TCEQ spokesperson Terry Clawson told the Fort Worth Weekly. “If you are going to do testing and use certified labs and have it legal quality, that takes a long time.”

TCEQ used those results to “prove” that benzene wasn’t a problem. And an internal investigation prompted by an anonymous fraud complaint revealed that upper managment, including Sadlier and Executive Director Mark Vickery, knew the study was flawed. In fact, they ordered that the eight canister samples “be analyzed using a more sensitive laboratory technique.” The results came back on Jan. 22, 10 days after Sadlier’s rosy depiction at the Fort Worth meeting. Four of the eight samples measured benzene at levels above what the state considers safe for long-term health. Still, the fraud investigation states, Sadlier was “not confident in accuracy [sic] of the results from the field” or the fresh lab findings, and ordered inspectors to return to Fort Worth for more samples.

It was a nice gesture. Too bad he didn’t tell anybody outside the agency. The report notes that at the time the investigation was concluded, on Feb. 22, “neither Fort Worth officials nor the media have been alerted.”

They still haven’t. “Where the heck are the results of the follow-up sampling they did?” asks Sharon Wilson, a drilling reform advocate who lives near Decatur. “That was never released.”

Wilma Subra, a Louisiana chemist who has conducted her own analysis of Barnett Shale emissions, says the investigation raises questions of transparency. “The public got one message, but what you’re reading me is a totally different message,” she says. “Not letting the public and media know of the exceedances is of great concern. This information is critical to the community.”

When it comes to air-testing, TCEQ frequently fails. In July 2009, an explosion and fire rocked Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s Corpus Christi refinery, severely burning one worker and sending 4,000 pounds of deadly hydrofluoric acid across Nueces Bay. Hydrofluoric acid is no joke; it’s considered one of the most dangerous substances in American refining, capable of causing severe damage to the skin, eyes, heart, lungs and bones.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board called the Corpus accident a “significant near-miss” disaster after a six-month investigation. Communities near the refinery, long exposed to releases from nearby industrial facilities, worried that they could be exposed to a chemical cloud from the July release. TCEQ seemed oblivious to the severity of the situation. Nearly three hours after the fire started, Region 14 head Susan Clewis was settling down for a movie. “Apparently there is a fire at Citgo,” Clewis wrote in an e-mail. “I’m walking into the Harry Potter movie.” She noted that Larry Elizondo, a Citgo spokesperson and Corpus city councilman, had “refused to give” a regional TCEQ employee information on the incident.

Seven hours after the fire started, TCEQ decided to do some air monitoring. “With the media attention this event is getting, I think it would be best to conduct air monitoring,” wrote Kelly Ruble, a Region 14 employee, in an email. “The old saying ‘negative data is better than no data.’” The air monitoring equipment TCEQ used—finally—was incapable of testing for hydrofluoric acid.

In another crisis moment this March, when a gas well owned by Devon Energy Corp. exploded in rural Wise County, injuring two workers, Vickery asked Sadlier if air monitoring was needed. Sadlier responded: “I don’t believe so—the fire is out. We spoke to EPA—they contemplated sending the START unit but ended up doing nothing (which I prefer).”

A True Hero!!! She has helped many in the Barnett Shale, including Dentonites

Chemist Wilma Subra was working at her desk by a picture window one cool June evening in 2006 when the passenger in a passing car fired a single shot in her direction. The bullet lodged in a brick a few feet from where she was sitting.

Not your typical day at the office for a chemist, but Subra is not a typical chemist.

"I think they were just trying to scare me and get me to back off," says Subra, a soft-spoken grandmother who has made it her life's mission to help communities fight against chemical threats from industry.

Subra didn't quit. She moved her desk away from the window and went back to work. The gunman was never caught.

"I can't close up and not be out there," she says matter-of-factly.
"Out there" means traveling to communities across the country worried about pollution.

Read the full story: Environmental warrior takes on industry and watch "Toxic America," a special two-night investigative report with Sanjay Gupta M.D., June 2 & 3 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. They attempt to answer this question: Is enough being done to protect us from chemicals that could harm us?

She has helped many in the Barnett Shale, including Dentonites.  After learning about Range Resources' Rayzor Ranch drilling plans, the residents gave her a call asking for help.  She spent many hours on the phone offering advice and providing a general education on the drilling process.  Our request for conditions to be added to the SUP were solid because of her guidance.  Unfortunately, the city did not follow our suggestions.  Look what that got us!

Please help!

Please show your opposition to a Compressor Station in the Argyle area by signing this online petition.  In other states, Williams, the company who wants to install the Compressor Station, uses best practices and recycles drilling waste on-site, but best practices are not mandated in Texas so Williams refuses to use them. "Texans deserve best practices too." said Susan Knoll. "People who profit from the wells should deal with the waste".

 Lets help Argyle & Bartonville and show how we are a united front, especially when it comes to messing around with the health and safety of Texans.

Greed and Gas Divide Community

Mothers protest toxic waste dump in neighborhood.

For Immediate Release:
At dawn on Monday, May 24th, a group of mothers and children protest Williams Petroleum's exploitation of lax regulation in Texas as they install a massive toxic waste facility in the heart of their neighborhood. Neighbors call the facility on Jeter Road in Argyle, Texas DISH 2.

Concerned mother and founding member of Argyle - Bartonville Communities Alliance, Jayme Sizelove, says, "This dangerous site is too close to homes. It's only 100 feet from my son's bedroom window."

Leaseholders and Argyle Town Council Members made back-room deals with Williams Petroleum to move the waste from the site where it's produced and shove it off on the unsuspecting neighbors. Rather than recycle gas waste onsite, Williams is transporting the waste to a residential neighborhood.

This site is in the Denton Creek flood plain where runoff can contaminate drinking water downstream. "As far as we know, proper permits, plats, hydrology studies and emergency plans have not been made," said Jana DeGrand an alliance member.

In other states, Williams uses best practices and recycles drilling waste onsite, but best practices are not mandated in Texas so Williams refuses to use them. "Texans deserve best practices too." said Susan Knoll. "People who profit from the wells should deal with the waste".

Onsite recycling would eliminate:
• unregulated toxic waste pipelines
• massive truck traffic in a residential area
• explosive and toxic waste near children
• toxic compounds in air from fugitive emissions

Drillers should Drill-Right Texas or not drill at all.
For more information:
Argyle - Bartonville Communities Alliance

Drill-Right Texas: Best Oil & Gas Practices for Texas,

A Must See Presentation from the Argyle - Bartonville Community Alliance

Argyle - Bartonville Community Alliance addresses the Denton County Commissioner Court regarding concerns about natural gas drilling. In response, the Court agreed to set-up a task force to address the concerns of residents affected by Barnett Shale drilling.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that the task force will be composed of individuals who are knowledgeable about the entire drilling process and its effects on Texans' health, welfare and safety not to mention the environmental impacts.  Since the court stated that they found the Drill Right Texas as a good starting point, we hope to see someone from OGAP put on the task force.

ABCA Addresses Denton Commissioner Court from Runner Susan on Vimeo.

Thanks to Txsharon for the video!

Roberson Ranch Update

Roberson Ranch residents are "cautiously optimistic" that the proposed gas wells may be moved further away from their homes.  They are in talks with the company.  The Denton's planning commission will look at the issue again on May 26. Ultimately, the City Council will have the final say.  Read the full story here

Show support for the Robson Ranch residents

The residents of the Robson Ranch retirement community are facing the possibility of having gas wells drilled within 750 feet from their homes.  The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to revisit the item on Wednesday night. Read the full story here.

They could use our support. 

Denton Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting
City Hall, 215 E. McKInney st
6 p.m. work session,  and 6:30 p.m. regular meeting

A Juxtaposition of the Texas border and natural gas drilling operations

Come out and Meet the Texas Railroad Commissioner candidate

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Time:5:00pm - 6:30pm
Location:Tierney's Cafe patio
208 East Main Street
Lewisville, TX 75057-4044
(972) 353-2109

Jeff Weems is the Democratic candidate for Texas Railroad Commissioner. the state government body that is responsible for oil and gas regulation. The presence of gas drilling in the Barnett Shale is as important in our communities of Lewisville and Flower Mound.

Join us for a reception with Jeff Weems. Bring your questions, bring a neighbor, bring the kids, and enjoy one of Lewisville's local restaurant.

An Educational Event

Dear friends,

I hope that you can join me on May 12th for an evening of education and entertainment for the Fort Worth premiere of GASLAND, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. We are showing GASLAND in the beautiful theater at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and hosting an exclusive after party with Josh Fox, the filmmaker of GASLAND.

The invitation is attached, and the RSVP page is at http://gasland.earthworksaction.org/.
The evening will begin at 5:30 PM with a pre-party which will be open to all and will include a cash bar and snacks. At 6:30 PM GASLAND will be screening in the Modern’s Auditorium. For the screening, we are asking for a donation of $15. Afterwards, Josh Fox will be on hand to answer some questions. Then, at 8:30 PM the VIP After-party with Josh and members of Texas OGAP will begin, for those making donations of $100.

All proceeds from the evening’s events will benefit Texas OGAP. To RSVP, go to http://gasland.earthworksaction.org/.
See you on May 12th!

Kudos to Corinth

This is such an inspiring story.  The citizens of Corinth led by Cora Bell, aka "the thunder from down under," rallied together and successfully prevented XTO from having 11 variances granted.  Among other things, XTO was hoping to move the wells closer to homes and schools and install tank battery/storage tank within 100 feet of a residential structure.  

This should set an example not only for other cities but also for other groups that success is possible.  To think that they managed to do so much in such a short span of time.  WAY TO GO CORINTH!

If only the city of Denton had been this strong!

Range Resources doesn't have a good track record in Denton or in Mansfield (or Pennyslvania). Unlike Denton, Mansfield stood up to company and denied their gas drilling permit.

Mansfield council denies gas drilling permit because of previous violations Arlington ...

Did you hear the screeching last night?

I've heard from many of the neighbors around the Rayzor site that the noise has been horrendous lately.  If you are being disturbed please call in a report
Who you call for noise:
  • Before 5 p.m. Charles Meyers is your man. His office number is (940) 349-8323.
  • After 5 p.m. its the police non-emergency number (940) 349-8181 
Then please make one more step and send us an email so we can record you complaint in our log. Here is the address: dentoncrud@gmail.com.   In your email please include the following information:
  • Your name and contact information
  • Date of the complaint
  • Description of the complaint
  • To whom you submitted the complaint and what was their response

Does this look like drilling mud to you?

Some one has requested stills of the Range Resource supposed mud spill video so here you go... 

Just one square

And here is the mother lode....

Here is the Algae
And here is the cover-up

Happy Fracing Earth Day!!!!

Yesterday two Denton residents reported what appeared to be illegal dumping of sewage by Range Resources employees from travel trailers parked on site at northwest corner of Bonnie Brae and Scripture. The odor and drainage was on the west side of the site outside of the sound barrier wall. The concerned citizens put in a call to the wastewater collections for the city of Denton whose solution was to send out a ‘crew’ to talk with the Range’s foreman. Range claimed that they had just lost a little drilling mud off one of their trucks. I guess they didn’t see any point in taking a sample of the spill nor did they get a really good look because they missed the big wads of toilet paper.
     The concerned citizens proceeded to call TCEQ and TRC to look into the spill. Meanwhile Range starts bull dozing the spill to cover-up whatever it was they dumped/spilled/discharged/spewed/polluted. The police, fire department and other city officials watched as the cover-up occurred.
     We are anxiously waiting on the reports from all the agencies which were contacted and from the city on how they intend to deal with this situation. I also can’t wait to see how Range will explain why they didn’t report the spill immediately.
     You decided is it sewage or toxic mud? Here are some of the videos to help in your analysis of this perplexing situation:

Background Check

Range Resources Corporation, a company based out of Fort Worth secured the rights to drill five gas wells on a 3-acre site of land on the Rayzor Ranch Development. Their site is either directly across the street or in close proximity to:
  • McKenna Park
  • Denton Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
  • Vintage Retirement community
  • Residential homes
  • Private Pre K-3
  • Denton County MHMR Center
  • University of North Texas
  • Numerous doctor offices including
  • Pediatricians and ob/gyn(s)
How did this happen?
Just two individuals who own property within 500 feet of the proposed site gave their consent. For their consent, these individuals were promised royalties. These 2 properties are rental houses. Little notice had been given to the adjacent residential & medical property owners. Most of the property owners had no idea that this site had been secured to drill 5 gas wells until a few concerned neighbors began knocking on doors just days before the proposal went to the City Council. Ninety-three percent of the eighty neighboring residents contacted were against the drilling. Additionally, close to 100 local physicians signed a petition in opposition to wells.
     Although the issue was tabled multiple times by the City Council, the final decision was to grant the SUP with the addition of 21 conditions. Concurrently, Range Resources was in litigation with both the city and the developers/surface owners of the Rayzor Ranch development. The city claimed that Range had “shorted the city at least $400,000 by miscalculating royalty payments from gas produced at three Denton Airport wells” while the Rayzor developers believed Range had missed their deadline to begin drilling.
     Many of the citizens of Denton were outraged that Range was given the okay to drill. Several individuals then asked the city to fund environmental testing prior to the drilling. They believed that testing would alert the city and those in close proximity to the wells of possible exposure to harmful chemicals, contamination and resulting health concerns. The city declined and the residents set about raising money to cover the cost of hiring an environmental firm, Wolf Eagle Environmental, to perform, interpret and validate the findings.
     Although tested in less then optimum conditions (it was cold and windy) and only the first well was being drilled, the results indicated tests found “cancer-causing benzene and a host of sulfides above levels the state sets for safe short- and long-term exposure, along with elevated readings of methane”. Range has now begun the drilling of well number two. Unfortunately, they have already shown how neighborly they truly are by violating the conditions, working in the middle of the night and on Christmas Eve. The noise can be heard several blocks away. The smells of the emissions are horrid, leaving some individuals complaining of headaches, nausea, burning eyes and throat.

Here are a few ways the company could have been a ‘good’ neighbor:

  • Chosen a site which didn’t border a neighborhood. At a bare minimum they could have had a setback of 1000 feet from any residential structure, park or medical facility
  • Notified individuals living within 2000 feet of the site a written timeline and description of all planned operational events and a phone numbers to call in case of emergency
  • Used electric motors rather than diesel or used diesel emission filters to prevent exposing residents to cancer causing diesel emissions and fouling Denton air with smog producing NOx
  • Not flared- Devon hasn’t flared in over three years. Devon has stated publicly that there is no need to flare in the Barnett Shell!
  • Used equipment which in the normal course of operations would not admit un-combusted hydrocarbons into the open air
With Eyes Wide Opened
This experience has opened our eyes up to the nationwide issue of irresponsible drilling. Although we initially started with the Rayzor Ranch site we quickly moved our focus to a broader view of the entire city of Denton and its neighboring towns. We realize that true change is going to have to occur on both the national and state level. We hope to play our part in bring about that change.

"Most Barnett Shale facilities release emissions" says the Dallas Morning News

See folks, we aren't making this up.  Read the full story on the Dallas Morning News website but here is one extra special (revealing) part of the report:

On Aug. 27, at another company's gas-treating plant in the Denton County town of Justin, state inspectors checked a tall stack they called an unlit burner, seemingly idle against an afternoon sky. Infrared video showed chemicals pouring into the air.
On Oct. 11, 45 days later, "emissions from the unlit flare were again observed and documented," inspectors wrote.
By then, Kinder Morgan Treating LP had acquired the plant from Crosstex. Kinder Morgan told the TCEQ that the unlit flare was actually a vent stack, or emissions point, and that the emissions did not mark a leak.
On a TCEQ questionnaire that asked for an "explanation as to how you plan to fix or have fixed the observed emissions," Kinder Morgan wrote that it would take no action because the plumes were "authorized ... and expected."
"No leaks were identified," company spokesman Joe Hollier told The News in an e-mail. "Therefore, no repairs were required." 

Wow that took some guts! (along with a complete disregard for the welfare of the people in Justin).

Access the map which shows the sites where infrared videos taken by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality documented emissions from Barnett Shale natural gas operations.

Poor Range is getting beaten up!

In article published today in the Philadelphia Inquirer Range Resources discusses their neighborly attitudes:
"I have to go through the same process over and over again, and get beat up every time," said Mike Middlebrook, vice president of North Texas operations for Range Resources Corp. 
This maybe why they continue to get "beat up"

"I've learned a lot about city government in the last two years."
Middlebrook said the company has quickly learned how to be more responsive to the public. Range has its headquarters in Fort Worth, and has about 350 wells in the Barnett. It is also one of the biggest operators in the Marcellus.
On a tour of one of the company's rigs, Middlebrook pointed out new houses where some neighbors had complained about noise. Range installed meters to verify the complaints.
Middlebrook noted that residents closer to the well site had not complained because they have an economic interest in drilling - they are part of the lease that will receive royalties from the well's production.
"They're not hearing anything," he said.
That's often the case in the oil and gas business - those who stand to gain financially often have a more positive view than those who are getting no direct benefits.
Read the full story titled Well, Well Neighbor.

Is Anybody Listening? It STINKS!

(Thanks for keeping your Eyes on Range Scubawithdog)

The residents by this Rayzor Ranch industrial drilling site are complaining but nobody in the city seems to be keeping track.  We were given a list of individuals to contact for each of the 21 SUP conditions.  Initially, they had given the job of responding to calls to city Code Enforcement department.  Unfortunately, the complaints seemed to come after-hours when there was no one to take the call.  After an email to the Mayor, City Council and several individuals in the city planning/zoning department that quickly changed and new numbers were published in an article in the Denton Record Chronicle.  These included the fire marshal, the city attorney and the police department.  Yet, the person primarily responsible for most of conditions, the fire marshal Charles Meyers only accepts calls during business hours. 

A recent phone call to the police department revealed that the officers had not been informed of their duty to oversee Range compliance to the SUP. Furthermore, it seems they are not providing reports on the number of calls they received.  I personally called regarding noise and smell but the police had no record of the call.  So, were the SUP conditions just a pacifier for the citizens?    

The city can rectify this issue by hiring an oil/gas inspector who would take complaints  24/7 (like the city of Burleson).  Additionally they would be responsible for checking on all the wells and drilling operations in the city. Come on Denton- let’s be a leader in the Barnett Shale, force the companies who want to drill in our city to really be good neighbors. 

What You Can Do

We have got a log going so please let us know when you submit a complaint to the city (or TCEQ, EPA) by sending an email to dentoncrud@gmail.com. Please include the following information we need:
·          Your name and contact information,
·          Date of the complaint
·          Description of the complaint
·          To whom you submitted the complaint and what was their response  

What’s the Risk for Our Children?

Here is a good one. The Texas Railroad Commission wants Texas teens to know the dangers of being around oil/gas well sites so they developed a lesson plan for Middle & High School teachers. Included is an enlightening video (at the bottom of the page) which has great quotes such as this one: “These are oil tanks, definitely no place to chill. The slightest spark, even static electricity could wipe out a skate park.” (or a school!)

Here is the inspiration for the video:
       In April 2003, four students in Palestine, Texas were killed when they inadvertently set off a massive explosion of several oil storage tanks. While appearing safe, the oil stored in the tanks can give off flammable fumes. According to investigators, these fumes were ignited by a cigarette lighter. (http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/riskproject/index.php)

This is one question the video didn’t answer: If well sites are so risky, why would they opt to let them be installed next to schools? If given a choice, I would bet most parents would pick the safety/health of their children over cash. Do you know if the school which your child attends has a gas well close by? If so, post a comment.
I’ll start: Guyer High, W.S. Ryan Elementary, McNair Elementary, Selywn…

Besides a potential explosion what else is wrong with having wells beside schools? Toxic air emissions, trucks hauling lethal substances alongside buses & cars full of kids, soil/water contamination….
Here is a parent speaking out in Corinth about wells close to Hawk Elementary which is a school in Denton ISD.  This was orginially posted on the Corinth Cares blog.
What can you do? Speak up. Let the City Council and the School Board (link for the Selwyn folks) know this is unacceptable!

Ensure this issue gets addressed - Come to the April 20th City Council meeting located at:
City Hall
215 E. McKinney
Denton, TX 76201

Lets compare....

Denton's version of informing the public versus Southlake.  Or how about Burleson?  But hey, the flowers are nice.  Lets ask the city to do a better job keeping the citizens informed. 

Come to the City Council meeting on April 20th- the City Council will be reviewing changes suggested by the planning and zoning department to Denton's gas ordinance. 

We have a few suggestions of our own. Follow the  Drill Right Texas: Best Oil & Gas Development Practices and hire a technical advisor such as Wolf Eagle Environmental.


They had to zoom in on the flowers in the picture above or else you would have seen this industrial drilling site across from McKenna Park.