Videos, air sampling reveal Denton City’s broken promises to monitor fracking pollution

Independent tests of fracking operations prove
city cannot be trusted to oversee fracking

May 1st, Denton — Today the Denton Drilling Awareness Group (Denton DAG) released infrared videos of fracking sites within the city, and summa canister test results showing toxic benzene in a city resident’s yard adjacent to a fracking operation. Both prove the City Council is breaking its public promises to monitor fracking air pollution.

The series of videos from the three fracking-enabled drilling sites, — taken over a period of several weeks with an infrared FLIR camera widely used by Texas regulators, — show Volatile Organic Compounds pollution near residences. VOCs often include cancer causing toxics like benzene.

The summa canister test, a method also widely used by Texas and federal regulators, was taken from a Denton resident’s backyard less than 425 feet from an EagleRidge fracking operation. The tested residence is one of many adjacent to the same fracking operation. The summa test, performed near the end of the flowback process, showed that residents were exposed to levels of benzene pollution exceeding state long term exposure limits and six other compounds including acetone

In 2013, the Denton City Council promised in an open public meeting that it would, if not proactively prevent pollution from fracking operations, at least monitor those operations to insure that they weren’t polluting the air. This promise was essential because a loophole in the Denton City ordinance allows some fracking operations within 250 feet of residences.

“These tests show the City of Denton cannot be trusted to protect its citizens from fracking,” said Cathy McMullen, president of the Denton DAG. She continued, “Because the City cannot uphold its public promises to measure fracking pollution — let alone prevent it — we have no option but to protect our health by banning fracking altogether.”

“The City’s broken promises on fracking have hurt my family,” said Deborah Ingram, in whose yard the summa canister test revealed benzene air pollution from fracking. She continued, “I have had nose bleeds and breathing trouble as a result of this industry. I support a fracking ban because both city and state government seem more interested in protecting the industry than protecting the public.”

“Recent studies indicate the closer one is to the fracking process, the greater one’s negative health effect risk,” said Rhonda Love, a retired professor of public health and Denton DAG secretary. She continued, “Fracking has not been demonstrated to be safe. We must ask why we are exposing families to such risks.”

The Denton Drilling Awareness Group is in the final stages of gathering signatures in support of a ballot initiative to ban all fracking within city limits. The initiative would not ban oil and gas extraction, just hydraulic fracturing.

A celebration party will be held on May 4th at 805 Ector Street to gather last minute signatures and consolidate the various petitions. The signatures, which already exceed the minimum requirement to put the ban initiative on the fall ballot, will be formally submitted to the city the following week


More Information

Map of FLIR video locations (with video links) and the Summa Canister test:

Summa Canister test results

Frack Free Denton

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