Report: Texas nat gas regulators fall down on job


Texas’ booming natural gas drilling industry needs closer scrutiny from state and federal regulators, not a more hands-off approach, according to a report issued today by a grassroots environmental group.

The study, “Natural Gas Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety” says the state’s air, water and drilling regulators lack the resources — and in many cases the resolve — to adequately protect the public from poor drilling and production practices.

The report points to the many Texas gas drilling conflicts in recent years, including complaints in the town of Dish about noise and emissions from gas compressor stations and the more recent conflict between Range Resources and a pair of Wise County property owners who say drilling contaminated their drinking water.

The report’s take on the data collected around that incident will no doubt differ from that of many FuelFix readers. But the group, Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project, says there are too many such incidents to ignore.

Too often citizen testimonies of health effects or evidence gathered by citizens, as in this report, are dismissed as anecdotal evidence and as long as each case is treated as an isolated incident the larger pattern is ignored.  But when so many citizens across almost two dozen counties report similar complaints and symptoms associated with gas drilling, something is wrong.”

Among the recommendations from the report:

  • The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality must step up monitoring and enforce emission limits from oil and gas exploration and production equipment.
  • The Texas Railroad Commission should stop being an industry lapdog, adopt rules that provide full public transparency on hydraulic fracturing fluids and rules for closed-loop drilling systems. Oh, and the TXRRC should be completely overhauled.
  • The Texas Water Development Board must evaluate the impact of fracking on water supplies.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should identify sources of drilling chemicals in groundwater and regulate air pollution from oil and gas exploration and production.

Other groups backing the report include Public Citizen Texas, Environment Texas, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Clean Water Network, Downwinders at Risk, Texas Drought Project, Argyle-Bartonville Communities Alliance , Dallas Area Residents for Responsible Drilling, Flower Mound Citizens Against Urban Drilling and the Wise County Alliance for Responsible Drilling.

The full study can also be seen below:

2011 Texas Nat Gas Report From Earthworks

Tom Fowler

9 Responses

  1. roger1 says:

    Well, the sad fact is …

    Texas and the Gulf of Mexico DOES have another government regulatory disaster underway, and this time the pollutants are radionuclides, made in Japan. Some, such as the lovely and erudite constitutional lawyer Ann Coulter, are embracing the, somewhat dubious, positive ‘opportunities’ from this vast radioactive fallout duststorm. Perhaps Miss Coulter has been retained as counsel.

    Greetings, fellow participants in the 2nd Great Northern Hemisphere Hormesis (GNHH) experiment. Ann Coulter is our gracious host; while our proud sponsors are the General Electric Corporation (GE) and the Tokyo Elecric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima complex. GE “brings good things to life” and TEPCO, “emphasizing fine-tuned service, supports our comfortable lifestyle”. The 1st GNNH experiment was sponsored by the now defunct USSR at the Chernobyl, Ukraine plant. Those not wishing to participate are advised to relocate to Sydney, Santiago or Buenos Aires.

    Today, the GNHH experiment families are separating into two groups, the ‘Maximizer’ Team and the ‘Controller’ Team. Maximizers should drink the rainwater, eat plenty of large leaf vegetables, purchase free range chicken and sea-salt, drink plenty of fresh milk, eat shallow water fish, enjoy the cream cheese, and avoid alcohol. Expectant and nursing mothers should take their prenatal vitamins, without iodine (KI). Controllers should double their normal RDA multi-vitamin/mineral intake, purchase grain-fed chicken and mined salt, drink bottled, Reverse Osmosis or well water, select the sharp (aged) cheese, order the canned peas and select well aged red wines and (ironically) the long shelf life irradiated milk .

    Tonight, the Maximizers will be enjoying spinach and argula salad, borsht, oysters Rockefeller and the Kobe boeuf wellington with a rich cream sauce. Maximizer desert dessert selections include cheesecake, cream puffs and berries drenched in sweet cream. Those insisting on alcohol will be served an excellent boujoule nouveau.

    The Controllers will select a main course of arroz con pollo, grouper or Argentinian Beef with Chimichurri Sauce. Soup choices will consist of consommé and lentil. A cucumber and olive salad, generously sprinkled with Reggianito will be served. Our featured dessert is Brigadeiros served with Brazilian Daterra coffee. Our vast selection, of finely aged red wines, will enhance your dining experience.

  2. roger1 says:

    Don’t worry …. “There is no danger”

    Four studies were conducted of Utah schoolchildren exposed to radioactive fallout from Nevada nuclear weapon tests.

    J Truman, originally from southern Utah and now a resident of Malad, Idaho, was among the group of children first tested in the early 1960s and then retested. “As a participant in that study since its beginning I can’t say it’s comforting to see the final verdict,” he said in an e-mail. “Far from it. There’s only anger.”

    He is angry about the endless government repetitions of “there is no danger” as fallout was coming down. Truman also feels anger about the federal government pulling the funding on the next follow-up tests, “when the new links (between fallout and disease) started emerging.”

  3. roger1 says:

    Regulatory failure, I’ll show you some regulatory failure. Americans for good, experience based reasons, have little confidence in national disaster responses. The Obama Team has proven to be, if anything, even more inept than the Bush Team. A little accurate information would be helpful though. The ‘happy-clappy’ chorus is nearly as sickening as the rapidly accumulating radioactive nuclides.

    FANTASY: Inaccurate, misleading and untrue propaganda, regarding Houston, Texas:

    Gross Gamma Air Monitoring Data & Gross Beta Air Monitoring Data: To-date, levels recorded at this monitor have been thousands of times below any conservative level of concern.



    Cesium-137 forecast shows ‘near surface’ radiation cloud over Texas, Western US on April 15, 16


    Radiation risks from Fukushima ‘no longer negligible’ — Updated: 12 April 2011

    The risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe are no longer “negligible,” according to CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity. The NGO is advising pregnant women and infants against “risky behaviour,” such as consuming fresh milk or vegetables with large leaves.

  4. roger1 says:

    This very instant, the entire, corrupt, US national-socialist Obama government is paralyzed in the face of a hemispheric nuclear holocaust. The systemic failure of General Electric Mark 1 nuclear containment vessels has unleashed a 2nd ecological Armageddon on the Obama ‘watch’. The Obama Team has handled the radioactive spill from Japan as poorly as they handled the BP Macondo blowout. Their actions and inactions have materially worsened both disasters.

    Right now, European nations are issuing ‘food warnings’ and water warnings. Governments all across the affected northern hemisphere are taking positive steps to protect their populations; particularly the most vulnerable members. Obama is sitting on his thumb … again. Obama is part of the problem and not part of the solution … again.

    Lessons learned ……… NONE!
    Protective measures ….. NONE!
    Concern …………….. NONE!
    Legitimacy ………….. NONE!
    Honor ………………. NONE!
    Hope ……………….. NONE!
    Change ……………… NONE!

  5. roger1 says:

    I favor increased electrical generation from natural gas, coal and nuclear. Good designs, proper maintenance and prudent operation can produce our needed energy resources.

    Texas regulators have been FAR more vigilant than federal regulators. Texas has simultaneously been far more ‘friendly’ to the industries. This has produced a reliable energy supply and a good economy.

    Federal regulators approved a grossly inadequate BP Macondo well architecture. Federal regulators approved grossly inadequate General Electric Mark 1 nuclear reactor designs. These have created death, economic disasters and environmental Armageddons.

    Last winter, federal regulators caused the nationwide natural gas pipeline pressure loss and the resultant rolling electrical blackouts across a number of states.

    The existing, elected Texas Railroad Commission has served Texas better than ANY single appointed or elected official. This is particularly true in every state agency appointmentment EVER made by Rick Perry. It is overwhelmingly true for single member agency commissioner appointments by Rick Perry.

    Those things being said, Texas should increase the vigilant protection of our ground water resources a click or two. This year, Texas is suffering from a radioactive rain of death and destruction; courtesy of the General Electric Corporation and Japan Inc. That well water is looking mighty tasty, compared to the dangerously high radionuclide count in our surface water.

  6. Energy Moron says:

    Howdy Neighbor:

    And after going to Kroger to get tonights food…


    Now there is a real environmental mess. How many folks bring bags to the store?

    And as a conservation minded conservative allow me to add this area is heavily democratic as you know.

    I guess they expect the nanny state to bring the bag to the store for them to help the environment and have no personal responsibility>

  7. Energy Moron says:

    Howdy Neighbor:

    Even more of a sigh…

    Once again linking to the EPA on grass:

    Most Americans don’t know this but grass in yards is not a good idea.

    Your front yard has more ecological issues with it than most well sites in Texas.

    Pennsylvania is a different story owing to regulations that do more to protect coal seams than potable water….


  8. roger1 says:

    Fast work:

    It did not take very long to scrub virtually every mention of the term ‘radiation’ from the list of natural gas concerns. Maybe if we act nonchalant, people won’t notice that death and destruction are raining down from the sky. That radiation thing was a big concern, with the O&G industry, up until … oh about March 11 or thereabouts.

    Funny thing though, the Europeans are issuing radition food alerts, such as: The risks related to prolonged contamination among vulnerable groups of the population can no longer be considered “negligible” and it is now necessary to avoid “risky behaviour,” CRIIRAD claimed.

    The document, published on 7 April, advises against consuming rainwater and says vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming vegetables with large leaves, fresh milk and creamy cheese.

  9. roger1 says:


    I thought this would be about the loss of natural gas pipeline pressure last winter. ERCOT reported in late March that 152 of the system’s 550 units statewide had gone down between Feb. 1 and Feb. 4, and it really was not very cold.

    The electrical grid lost frequency control, which is the last gasp, before ‘islanding’ at best or a statewide blackout at worst.

    The natural gas pipleline pressure loss interrupted deliveries to many states including NM, Arizona, Nevada, California and every eastern state that I checked.

    The electrical grid cut off power to the natural gas pipelines and the natural gas pipelines cut off the gas to the electrical generation stations. The death spiral was more spectacular this year than in recent winters, but the problem continues without resolution or even discussion.