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Friday, May 28, 2010
And get this: The site will house between 12 and 30 tank batteries to accept tens of millions of gallons of permanently contaminated wastewater from wells being drilled on properties owned by Argyle council member Wayne Holt and former member Lemoine Wright. Enraged locals don’t understand how Holt and Wright could use their public office to negotiate an agreement that allows drilling on their land, while their toxic waste is trucked to their neighbors, along with the accompanying threats to health, safety and property values.
Link to full article,written by Ladd Biro for examiner.com
Thursday, May 27, 2010
We recognize that the industry must be mindful of their contractual obligations to their leaseholders and shareholders as they develop the immense resources of the Barnett Shale. To that end, any committee must be charged with a mission that includes recommendations for regulatory reform. This reform must occur not only in relevant state and federal agencies, but also in the next Texas legislature. Without much stronger enforcement of measures that protect property, and human health and safety, our county will continue to suffer a host of losses, from immediate, recurring damages -- such as those inflicted on roads, bridges and floodplain -- to a growing crisis of confidence that will stifle investment and economic growth.
(For example, a candidate chosen to represent municipalities should not only bring wisdom back to his or her own city, but also help other cities unite in their protection of constituents both in their corporate limits and their extra-territorial jurisdictions.)
This body should receive testimony not only from local but also national experts when necessary. Its decisions need to be data-driven. This body will need support as it manages data from laboratories, industry, government and independent sources, including inspections and audits and other findings.
This body must meet in public. During its sessions, this body should document the applicable state regulations and local ordinances that coincide with best practices, and document those places where best practices are not being used in order to achieve the standard.
ENERGY CONSERVATION: Use of alternative power sources or reduction of conventional energy sources.
CREATIVITY: Colorful plants, heights, textures, etc.
USE OF RECYCLED PRODUCTS: Mulch, manure, compost, tires, etc.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
TCEQ and EPA, control over one of its biggest air pollution permits
The Environmental Protection Agency's takeover of a key permit governing Flint Hills Resources' East Corpus Christi refinery marks a widening gulf between federal regulators and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The EPA, for now, has stopped short of seizing control of the state's entire air-pollution permitting system. But the agency's top regional official said he is preparing to take over more Texas permits and is insisting the state make basic changes.
"The EPA is serious about requiring that air-quality permits held by companies in Texas are federally sufficient," EPA regional administrator Al Armendariz said in a telephone interview. "If the state agency is unwilling or unable to issue those permits, the EPA must and will do so."
The TCEQ has insisted that its permit system is legal and effective. In a letter to the EPA dated Monday, TCEQ Executive Director Mark Vickery said the state understood that legal deadlines might force the EPA to take over some Texas permits while the agencies try to resolve "significant differences in opinion."
Armendariz said the EPA's choice of Flint Hills Resources to begin its permit takeover did not reflect a particular problem with that facility. Rather, he said, the agency believed objections to its state permit were on especially strong legal grounds.
The TCEQ issued a draft operating permit for the Flint Hills Resources refinery last October. The EPA formally objected to the state permit in December, saying it omitted required information about emissions and environmental requirements.
Without that information, the agency said, neither the public nor regulators could adequately monitor the refinery's pollution.
That process also will occur at other facilities with disputed permits, Armendariz said. In the past six months, the EPA has filed formal objections to major Texas permits at 40 facilities, an apparently unprecedented number in any state.
Armendariz said Texas permits have taken improper shortcuts, omitted key information and made it difficult to tell if facilities have skirted mandatory reviews.
The TCEQ says its system cuts red tape without violating the law or sacrificing public health. In his letter Monday, commission chief Vickery recounted what he said were ongoing efforts to find common ground.
• Improperly relies on the refinery's separate "flexible" permit, which itself does not comply with the Clean Air Act.
• Obscures key requirements by directing the reader to other documents instead of stating the requirements plainly. The Clean Air Act mandates a "clear and meaningful" statement of permit provisions so the public can monitor a facility's operations.
• Requires just three years of environmental record-keeping. The Clean Air Act requires five years.
• Fails to identify the specific equipment covered by some requirements.
• Omits information needed to determine if the refinery should have been subject to enhanced scrutiny.
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency