Sunday, January 31, 2010
Indiewire gave GASLAND a A- rating.
North Texans will have the opportunity to see this film. The Thin Line Film Fest in Denton, will open with GASLAND on February 17th at 7:00. You may purchase tickets at the Thin Line Film Fest online box office.
This is about ethics plain and simple. Something that Mayor Smith and Council Member Jean Levenick might not understand. Many residents of Flower Mound understand it very well. In fact, the question of Mayor Smith and Council Member Levenick's ethics played a big role in possibly changing the direction of the town the evening of January 21st.
They also have come under fire for not recusing themselves from deliberations or voting on ordinance changes that would affect a gas drilling company's desire to expand its operations in Flower Mound.
Both women have gas leases with Williams Production. The company has sought to conduct
seismic testing on town roads and to pipe drilling wastewater to a centralized collection facility.
Smith, who as mayor votes only when there's a tie, did not cast a vote on either measure but participated in the discussions. Levenick voted with the majority of the Town Council to prohibit seismic testing but allow wastewater to be piped to a central site.
The town attorney gave this reason for Levenick being able to vote.
Smith and Levenick defended their participation, saying there is no conflict of interest because the town – not Williams – proposed the measures.
"If the application came from Williams, there would be a conflict of interest," he told the Town Council. "But the applicant is the town in both instances."
Hmm...it is a safe bet that Al Filidoro and Tom Hayden didn't put in the application. So who directed the town to put in the application?
We mentioned this last week after the January 21st Town Council meeting. Mayor Smith thinks this is a smear campaign. But, some residents were surprised that she was going to run again since last time she ran for Mayor, she said it was her last time.
It's election season, and Jody and I are both up for re-election," said Levenick, who declined to comment further.
Read more about the ethics of Mayor Smith and Council Member Levenick.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Lowell Brown of the Denton Record Chronicle reports on Thursday nights meeting in Lantana.
State officials from the Texas Railroad Commission and the TCEQ gave presentations for two hours. After their presentations, there was an answer and question session. The session had more questions than answers. A few of the questions where.
Whether the asthma rates are higher in areas with gas drilling?
Do local municipalities have the right to mandate on-site recycling and purification?
Many residents feel the TRC does not and cannot regulate the industry properly. Texas leads the nation for most drilling and the worst regulations of drilling.
The state inspects wells on a priority system because it lacks the manpower to inspect each well “as often as we’d like,” said Gil Bujano, an official with the Texas Railroad Commission.
See the chart below.
Bujano also declined to offer assurances to an Argyle resident who asked whether earthquakes could create cracks that allow wastewater injected underground to creep into drinking water wells.
Argyle Town Council is also opposed to the disposal well along with neighboring landowners, Argyle and Bartonville water supply corporations and Gulftex Operating Inc. who is drilling in the area.
The state officials also talked about the recent TCEQ study results that showed 1 in 4 gas drilling production sites tested had higher than acceptable benzene readings. Residents are concerned because they feel the standard level on which the TCEQ is too high. Txsharon breaks down how they come up with this standard.
Many residents left with the same concerns they came with.
The State is awaiting results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The analysis will be conducted by the National Center for Environmental Health, which is the same laboratory that has the data considered a baseline for comparison, the National Human and Nutrition Examination Survey. The lab work is expected to take about a month, according to department spokeswoman Susan Prosperie.
The full report will be available for the public to read. I will not include information on the individuals, which is protected by privacy laws.
Officials from nearby communities acknowledge that disposal well leakage could seep into ground water, but the likelihood of such occurrences is uncertain.
"It seems like that would be a concern to most people," said Robert Scott, district manager of Municipal Utility District 1 in Trophy Club, which provides water and wastewater services. Scott referred to the Trinity aquifer located beneath much of North Texas.
Williams claimed they never had a pipeline leak. Txsharon talks about the how it has been revealed that Williams had about 65 leaks per year for the past 5 years.
The fact that the likelihood of a leak is uncertain should be alarming. Why take the chance? Oh right, because they can.
Friday, January 29, 2010
See the News 8 report
Here is the Flower Mound Cares Facebook Page
After all, the towers were few and far between, and Flower Mound had a well-earned reputation as a family-friendly residential community unreceptive to commercial and retail development. Let Southlake, Grapevine and Highland Village become shopping Meccas. We’ll stick to our horses and buffalos, our quiet restaurants and shops, and our modest traffic.
Then, seemingly overnight, the gas wells started creeping closer to our peaceful neighborhoods and exemplary schools. Huge tanker trucks began rumbling down residential streets. And kids started getting sick.
The news traveled fast, prompting the locals to start asking questions. But answers were elusive. Representatives from the drilling firms, most notably The Williams Companies, smiled and assured everyone that they had only the best interests of the community in mind. But they refused to address the tough questions, while making it patently clear they had no intention of slowing down.
Though the numbers keep changing, Williams plans to drill at least 100 more wells throughout Flower Mound over the next few years, with many of the new pad sites in close proximity to homes, schools and businesses.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jody Smith and her allies on the Town Council fiddle while Flower Mound is systematically pillaged.
Despite increasingly strident pleas from constituents to tap the brakes and assess the short- and long-term consequences of their actions, a firm majority of the council stubbornly votes in lockstep on behalf of the gas interests. On January 21, roughly 600 Flower Mound citizens packed a Town Council hearing to voice their concerns with the latest sell-out to Williams. An overwhelming majority of those present voiced their opposition to the proposed ordinances, just as a similarly vociferous group had advocated a temporary moratorium on new drilling permits at a December 17 hearing. In both cases, three of the five council members thumbed their noses at the irate crowd and sided with the drillers.
Mayor Smith and her pro-drilling cohorts offered various defenses for disregarding the will of their constituents. They claimed to be prohibited from preventing drilling within the town, citing the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution. They dismissed as overblown “scare tactics” many of the health and safety concerns raised by their opponents. They worried aloud about the inevitability of lawsuits brought by Williams should the town dare stand in its way. And, in true political fashion, they insisted upon having more “facts” before they would reconsider their position.
The fracking process generates toxic vapors and waste water that can contaminate the air, water and soil. Over the past half-dozen years, more than 1,000 documented incidences of water contamination in the western U.S. have been linked to hydraulic fracturing. Most of these have occurred in remote areas far removed from population centers. In densely populated areas, the margin for error is much narrower.
The exemptions allow drillers to disingenuously claim that since they are not required to label the contaminated water as “hazardous,” it isn’t. But nothing could be further from the truth. Fracking fluids typically contain roughly 240 toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, mutagens, endocrine disruptors and other lethal compounds, the vast majority of which have adverse health effects.
Last Summer, legislation was introduced in Congress to give the EPA authority over the hydraulic fracturing process. But given the myriad of other issues facing the feds, not to mention the lobbying muscle still wielded by the oil and gas industry in Washington, there’s no telling when, or if, the “FRAC Act” will ever see the light of day.
The compliant leadership of Flower Mound’s Town Council refuses to press the issue.
But the natives are getting restless. They’re demanding answers to these and other urgent questions, not least of which is the impact all these uncertainties are having on property values. Local realtors have presented anecdotal evidence that an exodus may already have begun, while many new buyers are suddenly steering clear of Flower Mound. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for a town that was named the sixth-best place to move in the nation by Forbes in 2009.
Strategy & Planning Meeting on referendum of CCF
Flower Mound Cares
Friday, January 29, 2010
7:00pm - 9:00pm
Wellington Fitness Center 3520 Furlong Drive
We are holding a strategy & planning meeting this Friday to discuss options and next steps related to the a referendum of last week's centralized collection facility ordinance.
- Discuss logistics, next steps required for referendum
- Identify key players, roles and action items
- Identify folks who can provide play support roles (e.g. notary, HOA outreach, PR, legal, etc.)
Date: Friday January, 29, 2010
Location: Wellington Fitness Center 3520 Furlong Drive (corner of Furlong and Flower Mound Road )
Who: Open to everyone who would like to help organize and implement this effort.
We need folks to volunteer their expertise e.g. serving HOA board, legal, notary, signage, community outreach, databases, etc.
Those of you would like to volunteer your time/expertise but cannot attend on Friday, please send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information:
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe from the Denton Record Chronicle reports:
According to the latest statistics published by the Texas Railroad Commission, there are 13,168 gas wells along with 194 injection and disposal wells in the 23 counties of the Barnett Shale area. orts the following.
Last week it was uncovered that the TCEQ is only required to collect an air sample, if the total chemicals in the air are more than 140 times the average
amount for the metroplex.
Benzene levels exceeded the recommended safe levels at 21 of 94 sites, the agency said.
One company has already made repairs at a site where the benzene level measured 1,100 parts per billion, hundreds of times above the state and federal standard of 1.4 parts per billion.
"Although the results are complex, it is clear that gas production facilities can, and in some cases do, emit contaminants in amounts that could be deemed unsafe," the agency said in a news release.
Duh! We already knew that!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Many of you have told me to let them know if I ever needed your help. Well, I could use your help at the moment. As you may have noticed I have become a lightening rod for personal attacks from our friends in the natural gas industry. The latest is that they are accusing me of not providing the information that they asked for in a public information request to the town of DISH. Please know that I completely cooperated with their request. The only thing that I questioned with the request was that they were asking for personal medical information from the citizens of DISH. Of course they only wished to use this information to vilify the very citizens that they are poisoning. So, I questioned the legality of their request, like any good mayor would do. However, from the latest letter they are threatening to file suit against the town and file a complaint with the attorney general. However, we have been more than cooperative with with those in the Texas Pipeline Association, who made this public information request. What they are trying to do is come of with frivolous allegations, to run up the legal fees for our community. As with with everything that I have done thus far, I am only trying to protect the citizens of this community, and I will not back down. I have long ago quit worrying about myself, and now only worry about my family and my citizens. I would ask that each and every person who supports what I have done and what am doing, please call the following people and ask them to clean up their mess in the town of DISH, and to LEAVE US ALONE!!!! Please see attached threatening letter.
Patrick Nugent 512.478.2871
Celina Romero 515.472.8800
Please forward this message to as many people as you can and ask for their help.
"Together we bargain, divided we beg".
Calvin Tillman Mayor, DISH, TX
"Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it"
According to this article in the Scientific American, drilling waste water contains more Total Dissolved Solids, which is a mixture of salt and other minerals, and is fives more salty then sea water.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
“Our results also lend support to the growing evidence that parental exposure to benzene may predispose an offspring to childhood leukemia,” write Xing and colleagues.
They conclude that given the results of this study, current occupational air standards for benzene in the USA may not be low enough to protect men from adverse reproductive health effects."
This was the objective:
To investigate whether occupational exposures to benzene near 1 ppm induce aneuploidy in sperm. Methods: We used multi-color fluorescence in situ hybridization to measure the incidence of sperm with numerical abnormalities of chromosomes X, Y and 21 among 33 benzene-exposed men and 33 unexposed men from Chinese factories.
Here is conclusion:
Benzene appeared to increase the frequencies of aneuploid sperm for chromosomes associated with chromosomal abnormality syndromes in human offspring, even in men whose air benzene exposure was at or below the US PEL.
PHILADELPHIA (January 26, 2010) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the creation of the “Eyes on Drilling” tipline for citizens to report non-emergency suspicious activity related to oil and natural gas development.
The agency is asking citizens to call 1-877-919-4EPA (toll free) if they observe what appears to be illegal disposal of wastes or other suspicious activity. Anyone may also send reports by email to email@example.com. Citizens may provide tips anonymously if they don’t want to identify themselves.
In the event of an emergency, such as a spill or release of hazardous material, including oil, to the environment, citizens are advised to call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
Public concern about the environmental impacts of oil and natural gas drilling has increased in recent months, particularly regarding development of the Marcellus Shale formation where a significant amount of activity is occurring. While EPA doesn’t grant permits for oil and gas drilling operations, there are EPA regulations which may apply to the storage of petroleum products and drilling fluids. The agency is also very concerned about the proper disposal of waste products, and protecting air and water resources.
EPA wants to get a better understanding of what people are experiencing and observing as a result of these drilling activities. The information collected may also be useful in investigating industry practices.
The agency works closely with state and local officials, as well as industry and public interest groups, to ensure that oil and natural gas drilling occurs in a manner which is protective of human health and the environment and complies with applicable laws. The agency is also counting on concerned citizens to report unusual or suspicious activity related to drilling operations.
EPA is asking citizens to report the location, time and date of such activity, as well as the materials, equipment and vehicles involved and any observable environmental impacts.
The Marcellus Shale geologic formation contains one of the largest mostly untapped reserves of natural gas in the United States. It underlies significant portions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York, and smaller portions of Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky.
Interest in developing Marcellus Shale has increased because recent improvements in natural gas extraction technology and higher energy prices now make recovering the gas more profitable.
Operators produce this gas through a process called hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Fracking requires drilling a well thousands of feet below the land’s surface and pumping down the well under pressure millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals to fracture the shale.
The process allows the gas trapped in the formation to flow to the well bore. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of the fluid flows back to the surface. This “flowback” fluid consists of fracking fluid and brines which contain dissolved minerals from the formation.
Operators are urged to recycle their flowback water for reuse in the fracking process, but some of the flowback is taken offsite for disposal. Chemicals used in the process are often stored on-site. Spills can occur when utilizing these chemicals or when transporting or storing wastewater, which can result in the contamination of surface water or ground water, which is used for many purposes including drinking water.
Instructions for the tipline can be found at:
Documenting Suspicious Activity
To the extent possible, record:
• Location of the event
• Date of the event
• Time of the event
• Who, if anyone you interacted with during the event
Photos and videos are great ways to document observations. Be sure to record the date and time the photo or video was taken. Email your digital files, or mail your photographic prints, video cassettes, or CD-ROM disks to EPA using the contact information above.
When describing what you observed, include:
• Activity taking place, including description of equipment and materials involved
• Descriptions of vehicles- Color- Company name or logo- License plate number- Type of vehicle
• Destination of discharge (physical location and stream name, if known)
• Environmental impacts: discoloration, dying vegetation, dead fish or other wildlife
TCEQ’S BARNETT SHALE STUDY RESULTS TO BE RELEASED 1/27/10
NEWS CONFERENCE 1/27/10 AT 1 P.M. AT TCEQ DALLAS/FT. WORTH REGIONAL OFFICE
WHAT: TCEQ will hold a news conference on Wednesday, Jan. 27, to release results of the study of air quality in the Barnett Shale. A news release will be distributed simultaneously, and information from the study will be posted on the TCEQ Barnett Shale website at http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/goto/barnettshale.
WHO: John Sadlier, Deputy Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement
Michael Honeycutt, Ph.D., Director, Toxicology Department, Chief Engineer’s
WHERE: TCEQ Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Office. 2309 Gravel Drive, Ft. Worth, 76118. (Office is in a business park, be sure to Google or Mapquest the address). Office telephone 817-588-5800 if you get lost.
WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010.
CONTACT: Terry Clawson 512-239-0046, cell 512-657-0738
Monday, January 25, 2010
It is no secret that Texas is the largest energy producer in the United States. But we are also one of the dirtiest producer when it comes to air quality.
This is an industry that spent $120,729,855.00 lobbying in Washington. The following paragraphs from the article sound like scare tactics. Other industries like Cement Plants, Agriculture, Steel Mills etc. have had to comply and they are still around. Sounds like scare tactics.
“People would have to put on more emissions controls, which means it would cost more to drill a well,” said Feldman
Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement claiming the move is based upon “flawed science” that will lead to “the loss of hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs” without improving human health. But in the same press release, Perry said the state, since 2000, has been able to reach near the 1997 compliance by investing more than $1 billion and without sacrificing Texas jobs.
Local realtor, Kris Wise, had this to say.
Some point to last week's town council meeting as proof city leaders are moving too fast on drilling-friendly issues. They say the council ignored the overwhelming community concern Thursday and moved forward on a centralized collection facility. Realtor Kris Wise says, "That's what I'm concerned about with town council. We seem to be on a freight train headed for a road and we don't know if the bridge is out or not. And I would say just slow down, because if we can get the facts and make sure we don't have an issue, that would be so much better than just going full bore ahead and God knows what might happen."
Where: Hotel Trinity - Inn Suites
IH30 @ Beach Street
Doors will open at 6:30pm for coffee, networking
and news interviews.
Meeting will begin at 7:00pm and end at 8:45pm
Dr. Al Armendariz-EPA Region 6 Administrator
Dr. Al Armendariz was appointed by President Obama on November 5, 2009 as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, in Dallas. As Regional Administrator he is responsible for managing the Agency's regional activities under the direction of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
The region encompasses Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribal Nations. Prior to his appointment, for eight years he was a professor in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he received several outstanding faculty awards. For the past 15 years, Dr. Armendariz has worked in a variety of research and academic positions including, for a short time in 2002, in the Region 6 EPA offices.
Before joining SMU, he was a chemical engineer with Radian Corporation in North Carolina. During and after college he worked as a research assistant at the MIT Center for Global Change Science at their Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory in Massachusetts.
Throughout his career, Dr. Armendariz has spent countless hours volunteering his time to help the environment through various environmental groups and the Volunteer Center for North Texas. He has a proven track record of addressing complex environmental and public health challenges in everything from solid waste landfills to community and Tribal priorities.
Dr. Armendariz  received his doctorate in Environmental Engineering from
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Pubic Health where he was also selected as a Royster Society Fellow. He holds a M.E. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. Al is a chemical engineer by training, with an undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.).
Al is a third generation Texan, descended from Mexican and Mexican-American grandparents who settled in the border city of El Paso. Born and raised in El Paso, he graduated from Coronado High School in 1988. He has also lived in Houston, Albuquerque and New Orleans. Al currently lives in Dallas with his wife Cynthia, a public school teacher in Irving ISD, and two sons, Ferris and Simon.
Mayor Tillman's video remarks
Mayor Calvin Tillman - Dish, Texas
Mayor Tillman has been on the front lines of the battle to keep his town safe and clean from the effects of uncontrolled pipelines and gas drilling within the city limits of Dish Texas. Much of the time he has been the Lone Ranger in he battle to save some of his town, and by default some other communities who are facing the same problems without their elected official's support.
His views and unique experiences with these very important issues are a must to hear in his own words. Just Google his name for a wealth of information.
FORWARD - BABY - FORWARD!
As the time honored saying goes, you can be a part of the solution or continue to be a part of the problem. Only by working together for the common good can we even begin to protect our communities from unwanted and/or unneeded industrial activities that continue to harm the air we breathe or the water needed to sustain our quality of life.
Please join with us to help protect our future and the continued safety of our families BY FORWARDING THIS EMAIL to your school administrators, your teachers, your church leaders, the PTA and other community contacts. Ask them to learn how this expanding heavy industrial activity called gas drilling is affecting our most vulnerable citizens.....our children!
North Central Texas Communities Alliance
Esther McElfish, Pres.
Gary Hogan, V.P.
Louis McBee, Treas.
Researchers plugged data from air samples gathered around Dish into a computer model to see how some of those emissions might disperse throughout the countryside over the course of a year.
The maps are part of the air quality study conducted in the town last year by a private company. This study found 16 toxins at high levels near the compression stations.
The gas drilling industry has a different set of rules than any other industry here in Texas for for receiving air quality permits. On top of that, we know they receive broad exemptions from Federal Environmental and Human Health Acts.
The model is very limited in scope, given the town’s tiny resources, but it does demonstrate problems with the state’s permitting system for oil and gas operations, according to Ramon Alvarez, a senior scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund who has research expertise in atmospheric and combustion processes.
Because natural gas operators are granted air quality permits by a different set of rules than other big industries, the kind of data the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, as well as the general public, would expect to get from any other company applying for an air permit simply isn’t available, Alvarez said.
The TCEQ will be setting up a permanent ambient air quality monitor in Dish.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Here is the info from the Town Web-Site
TCEQ Conducts Air Sampling at Request of Town
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) conducted air sampling tests on January 13 at various gas well locations within Flower Mound. The Town contacted TCEQ and requested the tests in December. The site visits and sampling consisted of TCEQ representatives taking weather data and wind speed, using an infrared monitor to check for emissions, checking for total volatile organic compounds at the site, and placing air canisters downwind to collect samples that will be analyzed for specific compounds. The Town will continue to work with TCEQ in relation to air quality, and will provide a final report once all testing and analysis are complete. The TCEQ has indicated that a report will be available by February.
Town Receives Initial Air Quality Results Indicating No Detectable VOC Concentrations
The Town recently received a summary of the air quality monitoring activity conducted in Flower Mound on January 13 by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) officials. The summary details the locations and times in which monitoring occurred, the types of tests and readings, weather conditions, and equipment utilized. While additional TCEQ air quality testing is scheduled to occur in the near future, the preliminary analysis produced results indicating no detectable concentrations of VOC (benzene, toluene, methane, etc.) exist in Flower Mound. Additionally, infrared cameras did not detect emissions from the compressor engines and heater units other than those associated with normal operations.
Please visit the Air Quality page to read the complete summary.
Posted January 21, 2010
A couple questions come to mind.
Why report the air quality in Flower Mound showed no toxins if no air samples were taken?
Why did the Mayor feel the need to hurry and mention the results (based on the summary below) of the air quality test at last nights meeting instead of waiting for the full report from the TCEQ?
Read the summary e-mailed to the Town of Flower Mound
The fact that the air quality test was "clean" was brought up many times last night. Mostly when residents tried to voice their concerns about the effects of the increased gas drilling activity, including the Centralized Collection Facility, will have on the air quality.
Here are a few:
EPA (Region 6 representative or Administrator Dr. Armendariz himself. In August, Dr. Armendariz, then with SMU conducted a study on air quality and found that gas drilling adds as much pollution as transportation. The most important thing to come from this study was his suggestions to curb the VOC's and benzene coming from compressors and tank batteries by affordable and available technology)
Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project (this group was successful lobbying for many changes to Colorado and New Mexico gas drilling regulations. It was mentioned a few times at the Jan 21st meeting about Colorado's stricter rules for gas drilling)
Environmental Defense Fund (this group works with government and the citizens)
Wolfe Eagle Environmental (This is a local Flower Mound company. They did the Dish study. Their findings have been proven by TCEQ testing. Since they are independent and not with the state, this would be a good group to have)
Calvin Tillman (Mayor of Dish, just to share what effects gas drilling done wrong have on a town and citizens)
Next Thursday Night, January 28th. Rep. Tan Parker and Comm. Andy Eads are hosting an open house and town hall meeting to discuss the proposed compression station site and proposed waste water facility in the Bartonville/Argyle area.
The following state agencies will be there. TCEQ, Texas Railroad Commission, and the Texas Department of Health Services. Williams Production and Bosque (also Williams) will also be on hand to address and educate residents in Denton County regarding the State’s permitting processes, as well as answer questions pertaining to air and water quality issues associated with drilling in the Barnett Shale.
Many residents have stressed their concern that this meeting may not offer both sides of the issue. They are asking for there to be other agencies and experts that do not regulate or have any affiliation with the gas and oil industry.
If you have any questions or concerns about this meeting, see the contact information below.
Below is the information from the Flower Mound Town Web-site
Please join State Representative Tan Parker and Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads for an open house and town hall meeting to discuss the proposed compression station site and proposed waste water facility in the Bartonville/Argyle area.
The open house will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Jan. 28 at Tom Harpool Middle School, 9601 Stacee Lane in Lantana. Citizens are asked to please enter the doors into the cafeteria.
State agencies will be present to address and educate residents in Denton County regarding the State’s permitting processes, as well as answer questions pertaining to air and water quality issues associated with drilling in the Barnett Shale.
For information please contact
State Representative Tan Parker at 972.724.8477 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads at 940.349.2801 or email@example.com
Friday, January 22, 2010
Flower Mound Town Council votes 3-2 to amend the zoning classification for the Centralized Collection Facility
Last night the at the Flower Mound Town Council Meeting, the vote passed for a CCF 3 to 2. Therefore, the zoning classification for Centralized Collection Facility will be added to our Agricultural Zoning as a Specific Use Permit (SUP).
Amendment to Article VIII, "Oil and Gas Pipeline Standards," of Chapter 34, "Environment," of the Town's Code of Ordinances.
Amendment to the Land Development Regulations (LDR 04-09), by amending Section 98-2 (Definitions), Sections 98-952 (Use Classifications), and 98-273 (Agricultural District Specific Uses), to provide for a Centralized Natural Gas Production Facility definition, use regulations, and special use conditions.
Council Member's Dixon, Levenick, and Wallace voted FOR the above amendments.
Council Member's Hayden and Filidoro voted AGAINST the amendments.
Council Member's Hayden and Filidoro, by their comments, listened to the residents and shared their concerns.
One item that continued to be brought up was on-site recycling and purification. Council Member Hayden talked about this process at length. Stating the benefits would be great for people on both sides of this issue.
Here are the benefits on site recycling and purification:
Recycle and reuse of at least 70% of produced water.
Less potable (fresh drinking) water being used and wasted
Greatly reduced truck traffic
No pipelines needed for transportation
Reduce chance of soil and ground contamination
Many residents expressed their concern about the broad exemptions that the industry receives from many federal environmental and human health statutes. Voicing the health concerns because of the exemptions. Melissa Northern had this to say:
"The Natural Gas Industry feels that they can only do business if they are exempt from the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other protective human health statutes that other Industrial Businesses are required to follow. In 2005 Congress allowed them to do business with these exemptions. This should be alarming to every resident in our community. An industry who is allowed to pollute the very basic needs for living – safe drinking water and clean air."
Several speakers challenged Mayor Smith and Council Member Jean Levenick to recuse themselves from participating in any further discussions or vote because they have signed gas leases with Williams Production (the gas company that is proposing the CCF). The Town Attorney, Terry Welch, explained that it wasn't technically a conflict because there is not an actual application from Williams submitted to the town. The issue of ethics came up because Williams is the only company that has requested this type of facility. One speaker showed a recent ad taken out in a local newspaper by Williams, praising the CCF.
Resident Steve Lyda had this to say about the issue.
" You have to stand up for the people who cannot speak for themselves. To serve ethically, you must hold yourself to a higher standard that will sometimes require you to walk out and not participate in a vote that will be perceived by many as a conflict of interest. Yes, legally you have a right to sit there and vote, ethically you do not.
An even more ethical stance would be to sacrifice yourself and never enter into an arrangement where you have to make this choice: to serve yourself, or serve the people who elected you."
One very unusual thing happened last night and we're not sure what to make of it. Mayor Smith actually stood up at the beginning of the meeting and provided an explanation to an allegation that she and Council Member Levenick had been involved in a sexual harassment incident. She did not provide a lot of details other than that the complaint mentioned that they touched a body part of another employee.
The Town had hired an external investigator to look into the case. Mayor Smith said the case was "quickly resolved". The town attorney Terry Welch, of Brown and Hofmeister gave Mayor Smith, Council Member Levenick and their attorney's an e-mail at conclusion of investigation. Here is what we believed we heard that the e-mail stated "that no remedial actions be taken but there should be a clear understanding by your client of work place issues."
17. Public Hearing to consider approval of an ordinance amending Article VIII, “Oil and
Gas Pipeline Standards,” of Chapter 34, “Environment,” of the Town’s Code of
Ordinances. Council members Levenick, Dixon and Wallace voted for the FOR and Filidoro and Hayden voted against.
18. Public Hearing to consider an amendment to the Land Development Regulations
(LDR 04-09), by amending Section 98-2 (Definitions), Sections 98-952 (Use
Classifications), and 98-273 (Agricultural District Specific Uses), to provide for a
Centralized Natural Gas Production Facility definition, use regulations, and special
use conditions. (The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval by a
vote of 6 to 0 at its December 14, 2009, meeting.) Council members Levenick, Dixon and Wallace voted for the FOR and Filidoro and Hayden voted against.
More to follow later the meeting ended at 1:30 am
Thursday, January 21, 2010
DISH Mayor called for emergency testing after the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality refuses to respond to complaints of toxic odors in this tiny community.
DISH, TX -- On December 13, 2009 the tiny town of DISH, TX was overcome with noxious fumes omitted near a natural gas compressor station.
DISH is located in the epicenter of the Barnett Shale gas play and is home to a megacomplex of compressor stations, as well as pipelines, metering stations, gathering lines and gas wells. The mayor of DISH called out to the Railroad Commission of Texas, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the operators of the compressor stations to get relief for the citizens of this tiny community. However, after hours of no response from the Railroad Commission of Texas, and refusal to respond to the complaint by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Mayor Tillman called for emergency air sampling by Wolf Eagle Environmental. The results of the sample showed dangerous levels of carcinogens and nuerotoxins.Laboratory results confirmed the presence of multiple volatile organic compounds including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and o-xylenes. If you remember, DISH spent nearly 15% of its budget in August of 2009 for an air study after complaining for eighteen months to state regulatory agencies with no relief. The companies who have a stake in the compressor station include, Crosstex North Texas Gathering, Texas Midstream Gas Services (Chesapeake), Atmos Energy, Energy Transfer Company, and Enbridge Gathering. The latest report in its entirety is attached to this message for your convenience.
For More Information
* Calvin Tillman, Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Town of DISH
5413 Tim Donald Road
DISH, Texas 76247
* DISH, Texas Municipal Ambient Air Quality Study can be found online here: www.townofdish.com
Mayor, DISH, TX
"Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it"
Having the CCF and the Disposal well is not for safety and protection of the residents, no matter how Williams spins it. This will endanger all of the areas health, property values, and quality of life.
Williams should be investing in on-site purification, no matter what the cost is, so that the waste will not have to be trucked, piped, and injected near any neighborhoods.
In addition to the disposal well, Williams wants to put a compressor site that will be in a residential neighborhood as close as 80' to 100' from homes.
Here are the links to the petitions
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Exxon isn't exactly the most trust worthy company around. They recently were caught hiding the radiation risk of used pipe. Check out their drilling practices in far South West Texas at Rancho Los Malulos.
The Gas and Oil Industry spent 120,729,249 lobbying in 2009. They spent that money lobbying for the right to keep doing it wrong. To stop bills like the frac act. Why not spend the money to do it right?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Contact FMCAUD if you are interested in Free Legal Defense regarding a receipt of a MIPA (mineral interest pooling act) notice
The MIPA was passed in 1963 by the Texas Legislative Council. It effectively has been interpreted by the Texas RRC (Railroad Commission) as a method to compel unleased and unwilling mineral rights owners into a pool of willing owners. If ruled against, this will effectively force you to sell something you may not wish to sell, for a price you may not think is fair. Under the Texas Natural Resources Code, MIPA rulings by the RRC may be appealed to the local county district court, and if need be, a higher court. (Texas NRC 102.111, 102.112)
Please contact FMCAUD for more information and for requirements, limitations, and exclusions.
Williams Production wants to pipe toxic gas drilling waster water underground to a Centralized Collection Facility and then pipe it up north to a disposal well in their neighboring town of Argyle.
The residents of Bartonville have been told their drilling waste will go to the proposed CCF too and then end up in Argyle. The waste from Argyle wells will be piped to the disposal well on Jeter Rd. So pipes everywhere!
Pipelines can and do leak. The waste water has highly corrosive hydrocarbons which can eat away at the pipeline over a period of time. On top of that, human error can come into play. Construction crews, maintenance workers etc. with back hoes. Yes, there is "call before you dig" where someone will tell you approximately where the pipeline is. But soil can shift and so can the pipelines.
Here are just a few "accidents"
Seeps, Leaks, Spills
Wise County Pipeline Leak
Failed pipe connections causes three spills
Accidents do happen. Do we want to increase the chance by adding more pipelines to the mix?
On-site recycling and purification is the "neighborly" and the right thing to do. This would make everyone is responsible for their own waste. No one gets it piped under their property or school and most important, no one has to live next to a toxic disposal well.
The Gathering Line is a round-up of oil & gas drilling news brought to you by National Alliance for Drilling Reform (NA4DR), a broad alliance of grassroots activists from states across the nation that are affected with drilling development.
Something STINKS about TCEQ's recent Fort Worth air study. Considering that the Barnett Shale has a staggering asthma rate of 25% compared to 7.1% statewide, TXsharon thinks it's time for an intervention in Texas. Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS
Follow the FRACTURE and you will find fraccing! Read it at Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths.
When the citizens of Pulteney learned that a gas well in their town was going to be converted into an underground injection well for disposal of Marcellus wastewater, they didn't take the news sitting down. Sue Heavenrich blogs about last week's town board meeting on Marcellus Effect.
Flower Mound Town Council will vote Thursday night on changing the zoning and ordinance to allow a Waste Water Centralized Collection Facility. What is a CCF and what will it mean to Flower Mound and their neighboring communities? Read about it at stopthedrilling
Monday, January 18, 2010
Scroll down towards bottom of the page.
Here is the question and choices
Are you concerned about possible environmental or public health effects of gas drilling in Southern Denton County?
Remember, Williams is under investigation for a contamination of a spring in Colorado and recently there was another spill in the same area. The only gas drilling company with activity in the area is Williams.
If the investigation shows they are at fault, it will be interesting if they treat the land owner like the folks in Grandview.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, AT 6:00 PM
Town Hall, 2121 Cross Timbers, Flower Mound
AFFECTING OUR FAMILIES, OUR COMMUNITY, AND OUR PROPERTY VALUES
What’s Happening: Williams Drilling has requested a Centralized Collection Facility in Flower Mound. Town Council will vote on whether to add a zoning classification that will allow this to happen at a Special Council Meeting on Thursday, January 21. We need Town Hall to overflow with concerned residents.
A CCF is even more dangerous than the seismic testing on Town streets and rights of way that we were successful in opposing last November. A CCF will start transforming our community from a quiet, residential, family town into a foul-smelling, ugly, unsafe industrialized area. It is unsafe because the Oil & Gas industry is exempt from provisions in the major federal environmental statutes intended to protect human health and the environment including: The Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and more.
The issue of a Centralized Collection Facility (CCF) has been on the back burner for some time, probably with the drilling company and its supporters hoping that we would get burned out from working against seismic testing, an issue of secondary importance to them, and we would just sit by and let them push this through without opposition. We can’t let that happen. We MUST speak up – in numbers – to protect our homes, our families, and our community.
What is a CCF? A Centralized Collection Facility, or CCF, is a collection of huge, ugly, above-ground tanks that store the enormous quantities of highly toxic wastewater that result from drilling gas wells. If we get a CCF, not only do we get the massive, offensive storage tanks, we will also suffer from the building of pipelines that will go from each drilling site to the CCF.
The current proposal is to create a central point for Williams’ well sites in west Flower Mound (up to 100 wells). But there is nothing to prevent Williams from accepting tie-ins from other sites including other gas companies, creating an even larger industrial area with more pollutants.
Eminent Domain Issue: Williams will have the right to acquire access or create private easements (through purchasing or condemnation) to accommodate these pipes. Three pipes would be involved: 1 for the “go-to-market” gas well production line, 1 for the wastewater line, and 1 for the gas lift line (injected to stimulate the well and separate the gas from the water). This easement would be 30 feet or more in width and only required to be 3 feet deep. Just keep in mind two things: The owners of the easement have the right to enter the property where they own the easement at any time. Once there is an easement you cannot build on the easement.
Even more pipelines are being planned to carry the toxic wastewater from the CCF to an injection disposal well that has been proposed for Argyle. This well goes right through the water table feeding to Grapevine Lake.
- We know of 4 adults and 5 children here in Flower Mound that have Leukemia, a rare blood cancer.
- One thing known to cause leukemia is benzene, which is used in the fracing fluids and has been found in the air near some gas wells here in Denton County.
- The Texas Department of State Health Services is looking into the possibility of a cancer cluster in the 75022 and 75028 zip codes.
- For more on this and other gas drilling issues in Flower Mound, go to: stopthedrilling.blogspot.com
Protect your family, your property values, and your community!
Come to the Town Council Meeting on Thursday, January 21st!
Wear green to show your support for maintaining our quality of life in Flower Mound.
The question is not, should drilling be allowed, but how should drilling be done while protecting the health and safety of residents as well as the drinking water and air we breathe?
The Oil & Gas Industry wants us to believe that they could not do business if they had to comply with provisions in the major federal environmental statutes intended to protect human health and the environment.
These statutes include the:
Safe Drinking Water Act
Clean Water Act
Clean Air Act
National Environmental Policy Act
Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning
Community Right-to-Know Act
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
In 2005, Congress passed Halliburton’s Energy Bill exempting Oil & Gas Industry from these acts. Leaving our community and others without regulations that ensure we have clean air, safe drinking water, and clean water, as well as community emergency plans for any incidents.
“While the PR campaign for the Natural Gas industry promotes its product as “clean burning” it hides the fact that the new form of drilling, pioneered by Halliburton, is incredibly harmful to our environment and threatens to permanently contaminate a huge amount of the country’s water supply, create drastic air pollution conditions, and despoil huge areas. Despite overwhelming evidence of contamination, mismanagement and corruption, the general public remains unaware of the extreme effect the drilling may have on their lives.” (Josh Fox producer of GASLAND-the movie)
William Production Company submitted an application on November 25, 2009 to amend the Land Development Regulations to allow a Centralized Collection Facility as a Special Use in Flower Mound.
Mayor Jody Smith and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jean Levenick have both signed leases with the Williams Production Company. Despite this being the only application for in our community for this type of facility, these elected officials have refused to recuse themselves from participating in this process. It appears they have found a loophole - Make this an ordinance change for the whole community and it won’t be just about Williams. Although, public comments by the Mayor, saying we will try to limit this to only this area, whether intentionally or unintentionally, giving this company an unfair business advantage and definitely a conflict of interest & cause for lawsuit.
By now I am sure you know what a CCF is. The name is pretty accurate. This collection facility will be collecting toxic waste from gas drilling activities known as Fracturing or Fracking. Dr. Theo Colburn, one of the first scientists to analyze the 274 chemicals used in the drilling process. She explains that these chemicals are known to cause cancer, damage to the central nervous system, dizziness, lung disease, headaches, nausea, and loss of sense of smell.
How will it work? Pipelines are buried 3 feet underground and will run from each well site to the CCF carrying toxic fracking waste. These pipelines have Eminent Domain rights. Meaning that drilling companies choose where they want the pipelines to go and can condemn personal property and run these pipelines through your yard. The width needed for eminent domain would be at least 30ft wide. There is nothing to prevent Williams from accepting tie-ins from other sites including other gas companies, creating an even larger industrial area with more pollutants. (statement from town)
On Thursday, January 21st @ 6:00 Town Council will vote whether to allow this new Industrial activity in our community. The statements have been made that this is just zoning. In our zoning for manufacturing we do not allow this type of activity, but we are willing to allow it for agriculture. It is much easier to fight a lawsuit for not allowing zoning verses allowing zoning but declining the permit.
Where is the Town’s due diligence? We have an application and will vote on it without any idea of how big the scope of this project is. Pipelines throughout our whole community devaluing developed property (homes & retail) and making undeveloped property undevelopable/worthless. Creating the snowball effect of reduction of property tax dollars and sales tax.
Let’s be realistic… This isn’t about William’s being good neighbors – It is about their bottom line. If this is passed how much will Williams make for turning Flower Mound into the Toxic Waste Storage for surrounding communities? If Williams were really interested in being good neighbors, they would do onsite recycling. (Less water, less trucks, less risk, and less toxic waste dumped into a well just north of the border of Flower Mound to our neighbors in Argyle). The protest of cost should not be the Town’s issue, but somehow it is always the first thing mentioned – cost prohibited. Where is the cost analysis? Of course William’s like many other developers in our community will have to include the cost of the land they purchased. It seems to be a trend in our community. Most developers put an option on land to insure they can change the zoning, but in Flower Mound that doesn’t seem to be the way business is done.
This is the last chance for our elected officials (Mayor Smith and Councilmember’s Levenick, Dixon, and Wallace) and our community to close Pandora’s Box before there is irreversible damage to our unique country atmosphere, heritage, and quality of life of the residents of Flower Mound.
This type of zoning does not fit within our community and the threat of a lawsuit should not scare of municipality from protecting its rights. Isn’t this why we, the taxpayers of Flower Mound, paid Fred Hill so much money to lobby for our Municipalities right to self govern?
Friday, January 15, 2010
VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE: In the event you are not already aware, Cherokee Horn has distributed some flyer's recently that state "Town Council Indicates Hilliard Site Meets All Permit Requirements". This is not a true statement. I checked with the town staff today and the following is the current status of the permit request for the Hilliard site.:
It is our (town staff's) understanding that the following statement on the flyer is not accurate; “Town Council Indicates Hilliard Site Meets All Permit Requirements”. First, the Town Council does not review or approve gas well drilling permits. Second, the application is still in the review process as comments were provided to the applicant along with the denial of application letter. The denial letter informs the applicant that the site as proposed cannot be administratively approved; the applicant may re-submit the site plans to meet all surface setback requirements, or proceed before the Oil and Gas Board of Appeals (OGBOA) to request variances. Staff has not received a re-submittal or a request to present variance requests to the OGBOA from the applicant following the comments sent to them on November 19, 2009.
It is important that you inform your residents what the true status of the permit request is so that they can make informed decisions based on fact. In the event anyone has questions they should contact the Environmental Services Department at the town. They are responsible for gas drilling permits and they can be reached at: 972-874-6340.
Williams and the residents of West Flower Mound Shiloh area have been trying to convince all of Flower Mound and the council that this waste water collection facility is just about them. Their truck traffic and their safety. Many Shiloh residents and Williams employees have stood up at meetings and said it has nothing to do with the rest of the town. The questions and answers below validate that it has EVERYTHING to do with the whole town and the surrounding communities.
This is about Williams wanting to set up a new business in Flower Mound and the fact that the town, by voting for this Centralized Collection Facility, will be helping them set up a new business venture. This will be a money maker for Williams. Which makes you ask the following question.
Since Mayor Jody Smith and Council Member Jean Levenick have signed leases with Williams, they will recuse themselves from discussing and voting on this issue...right? We will just have to wait till January 21st, 6:00pm, at the Flower Mound Town Council Meeting to find out.
In a recent article about a waste water disposal well in Argyle, Williams mentioned that they are looking at piping or trucking the waste from the proposed Flower Mound waste water site to Argyle. We have received e-mails from residents of Bartonville telling us they are being told they’ll be using the Flower Mound CCF for their fracing fluids too. Williams keeps trying to convince the residents of Flower Mound that they want to be good neighbors. But a huge above ground toxic dump with several tank batteries storing toxic waste, 1 to 2 miles from over 5000 homes and 5 schools, doesn't sound like the kind of neighbor anyone would want to live by.
Then the toxic waste will be put into the ground up in an Argyle disposal well. Apparently, Williams wants to be their neighbor too.
Read the Town of Flower Mound's answers to the questions below.
1. What would prevent Flower Mound from becoming a reclamation point for other communities and increasing truck traffic?
Nothing. The current proposal is to create a central point for Williams’ well sites in west Flower Mound (up to 100 wells). But there is nothing to prevent Williams from accepting tie-ins from other sites including other gas companies.
Besides the obvious danger of toxic water being stored in tanks batteries, we have the issue of pipelines. Lots and Lots of pipelines. Pipelines for "go to market", pipelines for the produced water, and pipelines for the gas lift line. It has to be mentioned, those two words that violate every person's property rights....eminent domain! Read the towns answer to the HOA's question about pipelines.
2. Have the infrastructure transport lines been identified? Where will the pipes run?
No. Williams will have to acquire access or create private easements (thru purchasing or condemnation) to accommodate these pipes. Three pipes would be involved: 1 for the “go-to-market” gas well production line, 1 for the produced water line, and 1 for the gas lift line (injected to stimulate the well and separate the gas from the water). Williams currently has an agreement with Atmos and has been tying into their gas line and easement. Atmos is the owner of the gas easement which runs thru Wellington.
This easement would be a 30 foot or more in width and only required to be 3 feet deep. Just keep in mind two things: The owners of the easement have the right to enter the property where they own the easement at any time. Once there is an easement you cannot build on easement.
This may be your last opportunity to protect our community from becoming the Industrial Toxic Collection Site for Williams and other Drilling Companies. Just because the collection facility may not be behind your home, does not mean that it won’t impact you. Toxic chemicals blowing in the wind and pipelines carrying Toxic Chemicals running 3 feet under ground. And lets not forget that this is an industry who can only do business (their words) if they are exempt to complying with the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Water Act. That says plenty!!!
Let the Town Council know how you feel.
Show up and let your voice be heard, January 21st, 6:00pm, Flower Mound Town Hall.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Childhood leukemia subtypes
Total leukemia subtypes
We have received many e-mails and spoke with families dealing with this terrible disease. In the e-mail from the TDHS, we were told they are unable to extend the study period to 2009 because they must have complete statewide data before we can analyze data for that year. They will be working with the parents to verify the more recent cases. Even if you have been diagnosed after 2007, it is important that you contact TDHS.
Again, if you or your child has had Leukemia or been recently diagnosed with Leukemia, please immediately. The study is being done out of Austin.
Here is the contact information:
Allison Lowrey, Assistant Press Officer 512-458-7111 Ext. 2213
Brenda J. Mokry, Epidemiologist
Texas Cancer Registry
Cancer Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch MC 1928
Texas Department of State Health Services
PO Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347
Phone: 512-458-7111 Ext. 3606
Toll free: 1-800-252-8059
Other TDHS info:
Terry Nordbrock, MLS, MPH
National Disease Clusters Alliance
4758 Auburn Blvd Suite B Sacramento, California 95841
Arizona/Business Office 2602 E Helen Street Tucson AZ 85716
1-877-676-NDCA (6322) toll-free voice-mail
You may contact us at email@example.com if you want to be in touch with others dealing with Leukemia in this area.
If you are concerned about what is going on in the 75022 and 75028 and want to voice your concern, we have some contacts for you below.
EPA Region 6
Jody Smith: Flower Mound Mayor
Flower Mound Council Members who voted against the temporary suspension.
Steve Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Wallace email@example.com
Jean Levenick firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the Lewisville ISD Board Members about the health concern since they signed leases for almost every property they own.
Lewisville ISD Board members http://www.lisd.net/info/board/boardmembers.html
Kay Bailey Hutchison: US Senator http://hutchison.senate.gov/contact.cfm
John Cornyn: US Senator http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm
Chris Harris: Texas State Senator
Tan Parker: Texas State Senator