Thursday, January 14, 2010

News from the NCTCA North Central Texas Communities Alliance

The NCTCA had their kick-off meeting last night in Fort Worth. Many communities were represented. Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Colleyville, Denton, Decatur, DISH, Argyle, Bartonville, Arlington, Burleson, Midlothian, and Cleburne.

Calvin Tillman, Mayor of Dish, spoke about the continued testing in his town. The TCEQ is finding similar issues as the Wolfe Eagle study did back in the late summer. He said the need for green completions and other safe drilling practices must be mandated. Other states have better regulations and the gas companies are abiding by those rules. If Texas demands it, then it will have to be done.

Mayor Tillman stressed the importance of local government ordinances’ protection of towns and cities in the Barnett Shale.

There is talk about a permanent monitoring system in Dish and they will continue to work with the TCEQ and Wolfe Eagle. Their residents are getting ready to do biological testing with the Texas Department of Health Services.

Senator Wendy Davis spoke about bills from the last legislative session and how many of those that died on the floor will be brought back to life for the next session. Here are some of the issues these bills will address:

Pipelines and eminent domain.
Mandated green completions dealing with venting and flaring
Protection and better regulations for rural/county areas without ordinances

Senator Davis said the bills will include that the laws be retroactive to protect existing drilling activity.
Senator Davis mentioned some studies assigned by the Lt. Governor. Here are some of the issues in the studies.

Monitoring the environmental roles of state agencies like TCEQ and Texas Railroad Commission related to gas drilling.
Studying how they respond to drilling related issues.
What is the proper agency to regulate and monitor gas drilling industry?
What are the roles they currently play (not very effective right now)?

Senator Davis stated we have an EPA administration like never before at the national and regional level.

After the results on the Fort Worth air study were released earlier this week, Senator Davis met with the TCEQ. They said the test was the first one conducted and they admitted this was not an ideal situation for many reasons including the temperature. TCEQ also recognized that they need to do real time and long term testing.

The question about who funded the testing and where did the equipment to do the testing came up since TCEQ had stressed that they lacked the money and the knowledge to do the testing back in early fall. Senator Davis did not know the answer to that but said she felt that some of the burden should be on the gas and oil industry. She said that there should be third party objectivity to do the tests, read the tests and determine where and how testing is done.
Senator Davis feels TCEQ needs to partner with the EPA and other local sources like Universities to conduct the testing.

For more information on the NCTCA go to the website at
"Together we bargain, divided we beg."

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