Wednesday, March 31, 2010
There was a meeting Tuesday night at Southlake Town Hall where residents could ask questions. There will be two more meetings tomorrow night 4/1 and Monday Night 4/5.
Grapevine does not allow drilling within 1000 feet of schools. Grapevine and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD may not be able to stop the well from being drilled since the site is actually in Southlake.
There are many concerns about the health and safety of the students attending the school. Highway 26 is the where the students and faculty enter and exit the campus.
Click here for the News 8 report.
Click here to watch News 8 coverage.
The petition represents 15% of qualified voters. This petition sends a loud and strong message to Mayor Smith and the Town Council that many of us Flower Mound residents disagree with the decision made on Jan 21. When we have the link from WFAA.com, we will post it.
Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project will present GASLAND: The Movie as a fundraiser.
Join GASLAND Director Josh Fox, winner fo the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Texas State Representative Lon Burnam, and Oil & Gas Accountability Program Director Gwen Lachelt, and learn about the impacts of natural gas drilling on our clean air, our drinking water, our communities and our environment.
WHERE: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
WHEN: Wednesday May 12th, 2010
5:30 pm Pre-party with cash bar (open to everyone)
6:30 pm GASLAND Screening (ticket price: $15)
8:30 pm VIP After-party (entry fee: $100)
All proceeds to support Texas OGAP, a project of EARTHWORKS
Winger worked as a producer — "actually, more as an adviser," she says.
"Well, here's the thing, it's not my documentary," she says by way of explanation. "I jumped on a moving train. I am a property owner in the Catskills, which is the home of my heart, and so that's how I began to find out about the gas drilling that was coming to the area. I became horrified."
Josh Fox, the director and star of "Gasland," contacted the actress for advice, and she jumped at the chance to become involved in getting Fox's message to a wider audience. She even consulted with her friend and "Legal Eagles" co-star Robert Redford, since Redford has been successful in warding off gas drillers in Utah until their extracting methods are more reliable environmentally.
HBO will premiere "Gasland" on June 21. For more information about the film, go to: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/
If you would like to join them, be at the Flower Mound Town Hall at 1:45 pm today.
This is why Flower Mound is such a great community. It is amazing how many residents had the courage to step up, speak out and fight to protect their town.
Courage is refusing to quit even when you're intimidated by impossibility. It's choosing a goal, sticking with it, and finding solutions to the problems.
Courage is thinking big, aiming high, and shooting far. It's taking a dream and doing anything, risking everything, and stopping at nothing to it make it a reality.
~ Caroline Kent ~
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The process of Hydraulic Fracturing uses massive amounts of water, sand, and hundreds of chemicals. Residents living near gas drilling have complained that the process has contaminated their water and soil. In addition to the contamination, there have been reports of many suffering from health issues.
Devon Energy and others are practicing on-site recycling of produced water. Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are trying out environmentally friendly chemicals. Even Halliburton Co is looking at changes to their hydraulic fracturing process.
Everybody seems to be getting in on the green train! In the past gas drilling companies have been afraid of "doing it right" because they complained the cost would put them out of business. It looks like going green could become very profitable for some investors. This paragraph from the Wall Street Journal article mentions a few big names.
The market for such products is also attracting interest from deep-pocketed investors including Drew Bledsoe, who was the former quarterback for the former New England Patriots and other teams. He and his partners -- including Troy Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback -- have invested $10 million in a Stuart, Fla.-based company that claims it can eliminate the need for antibacterial chemicals by killing bacteria at the surface before water is injected into wells. The company, Ecosphere, is working on ways that gas producers can recycle the waste water used in fracking instead of shipping it to a treatment site or disposal site.
Where: Studio Movie Grill
225 Merchants Row I-20 & Matlock
Arlington, Texas 76018
Student - $12.00
General - $15.00
Reserved Seating - $25.00
Movie Star - $50.00
6:00 - 7:00pm - Networking& order food and beverages
7:00 - 9:00pm - Program & Documentary Film - SPLIT ESTATE
9:00 - 10:00pm - Networking & refreshments
Join us for a special presentation of Split Estate, the award- winning documentary that presents a riveting look at a David vs. Goliath confrontation unfolding in communities through the United States and particularly in the north Texas Barnett Shale. View Trailer.
Click below to purchase tickets.
Use Pay Pal to purchase tickets >>>
In addition to the noise and vibration, many residents are worried about the safety of the pipeline. The residents said no to the pipeline but eminent domain allowed DFW Midstream to come through their neighborhood.
Click here for the News 8 story.
Click here for the CBS 11 story.
Monday, March 29, 2010
click here to read the document.
Click here to read Ramon Alvarez's response.
This incredible group of residents have had many obstacles. Starting with the whole LISD fiasco. After securing new locations for the first signing event, volunteers where subjected to opponents harassing them and yelling expletives at them. Many of their signs were stolen.
Then came the weather. Rain, sleet, snow, bitter cold, high winds, hot weather, etc. Yet, they forged on getting closer to the goal every day.
In addition to the above, there has been harassment by SOME of the Flower Mound Police. Not all, in fact there a few that have signed the petition. We are talking about a few particular officers that seem to have it in for the group. Showing up and trying to shut FM Cares down when exercising their freedom of speech.
This weekend was a big one for the FM Cares group, with the many AMAZING volunteers walking neighborhoods collecting signatures, it appears they are very close to their goal.
McDonalds so graciously allowed FM Cares to set up a signing table. Many stopped by to sign this weekend. But something very interesting happened. The appearance of a Town Health Inspector at McDonalds on Saturday morning was a bit of a coincidence. Maybe too much of one. The inspector himself had no idea that the Flower Mound Cares group was going to be there, he was just following orders to show up and inspect on a Saturday.
Then again came the harassment of the police. Stopping by to tell the volunteers that they couldn't stand on the sidewalk holding signs because they were blocking a right-a-way. Something that every organization that has a car wash, Sonic Fundraiser etc. does on any given Saturday or Sunday here in the Town of Flower Mound. Yet, this weekend a certain officer seemed to pick on FM Cares.
As the end of the petition drive nears, we would like to say thanks to FM Cares, their many volunteers and the businesses that allowed them to set up signing tables. You demonstrate the very thing that makes being an American so wonderful....Freedom of Speech.
MARKETS: For natural gas producers, removing emissions leaks could become more rewarding (03/29/2010)
Joel Kirkland, E&E reporter
Offset credits tied to a Devon Energy Corp. project to retrofit natural gas equipment and eliminate methane emissions spewing from thousands of drilling sites can be valued under a new system set up by the American Carbon Registry.
The Arlington, Va.-based carbon market registry said today it approved the first U.S. carbon offset methodology for valuing methane emissions reductions in the oil and natural gas sector. The emissions project is a joint effort by the Oklahoma City independent gas producer and Washington-based Verdeo Group, which develops projects designed to cut greenhouse gases in the oil, gas and mining industries. Verdeo is backed by an asset management subsidiary of Cargill Inc.
"Our goal as an organization is to find ways to get large-scale reductions in the near term," said Mary Grady, a spokeswoman for the American Carbon Registry. "We expect this to be a large sector of emissions reductions."
Projects tied to the use of carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery also qualify for offsets, Grady said, noting that the American Carbon Registry is in the process of updating the science behind its protocol for those projects.
"Its highly replicable," Grady added about the gas methane reduction project. "It's very significant in that regard, in terms of numbers of offsets."
Under the methodology, gas producers can generate credits by retrofitting aging equipment used to separate gas liquids with advanced "low bleed" valves that shut off gas flows that send methane into the air.
A push to get rid of wheezy old machinery
Thousands of old pneumatic controllers attached to gas-liquids separating equipment are familiar fixtures in oil and gas country. The equipment serves a fairly limited function, but sends tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The goal for offset credit developers is to expand beyond Devon and engage other U.S. gas producers to install the retrofits as a first step toward meeting any future federal mandate to slash emissions.
For its part, Devon said in a statement that this project falls under a broader corporate initiative to cut emissions and create tradable, bankable offset credits.
Verdeo Group co-founder John Savage said one reason the oil and gas sector has been less eager to take on carbon credit projects is that emissions come from single, small sources. "To get scale on a project, you need to do it across a company," Savage said.
Savage said Verdeo is in talks with other major gas companies in the hope of vastly expanding the methane emissions reduction project. These kinds of projects would allow relatively low-cost emissions reductions to enter a cap-and-trade program quickly. "These projects are readily available. They can be implemented quickly," Savage said. "They don't require a $50 a ton price on carbon to make sense, and there's potential for large volumes."
Offsets are negotiated transactions that allow companies to "offset" emissions reductions they can't make quickly by buying into clean energy projects elsewhere. Until there is a mandatory U.S. carbon trading program in place, probably run by U.S. EPA, a number of private voluntary greenhouse gas registries are in the process of piecing together methodologies for verifying the legitimacy of offset projects.
Finding markets for 'low-hanging fruit'
Offsets are a contentious piece of the cap-and-trade debate in the United States. American companies aren't significant participants in the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism. Created under the Kyoto Protocol, CDM is the world's largest offset credit generation program that allows investors in offset projects in developing countries to then sell Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) to companies or governments in Europe, Japan and elsewhere.
The U.N. program, and the offset program envisioned by proponents in Washington, has faced critics who contend there is no clear system in place to verify and quantify greenhouse gas reductions claimed by offset project developers.
Two Senate bills, including a climate bill sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), have proposed qualifying oil and gas-related emissions reduction projects as potential offset projects.
And EPA is heading down the road toward regulating that sector. Last week, the agency proposed an expansion of its mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule to include new monitoring requirements for carbon capture and injection sites and certain oil and gas operations.
EPA issued its final greenhouse gas reporting rule last year requiring 31 industry sectors, which cover 85 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gases, to start to collect and report emissions data.
GAO report encourages Congress to keep trading simple
On a separate note, the U.S. Government Accountability Office made public a report Friday that recommends Congress design a cap-and-trade program carefully. If policymakers choose to auction greenhouse gas allowances to industrial emitters, then they "must also make important design choices in the ares of format, participation requirements, frequency and timing, price controls and rules for reporting and monitoring."
While the report doesn't get into offsets, emissions allowances and offsets will work hand in hand to reduce the sticker shock that could come with broad emissions reduction requirements across the U.S. economy. Contracts tied to both allowances and offsets would probably trade on the same platforms and commodity exchanges.
The report, which looks at both the European Union's Emission Trading System and one in the northeastern United States, examines the upside and downside of selling allowances. Doing so would generate revenue that could either be returned to consumers or reinvested in clean-energy technology research and development.
Economists told the GAO that allowance sales should be simple and transparent; that it is critical to ensure sufficient levels of participation in allowance sales; auctions should be efficient in that they reflect the true value of allowances; and market manipulation or collusion could badly distort prices in such a market.
The report also says that if policymakers choose, they could design a program to maximize the generation of revenues. Doing so, though, could "increase the burden of a cap-and-trade program on covered entities or consumers of their products, which could erode political support for the program."
This is a recent video that she posted at CNN IReport. Click here to view video.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Click here to read the article.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Texas Railroad Commission has been notified but so far no action taken.
Click here for the whole story from TXsharon.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
News Release March 24, 2010
Analysis of Cancer in Flower Mound Finds No Evidence of Cluster
A Texas Department of State Health Services analysis has found that the occurrence of leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and childhood brain cancers in two ZIP codes in Flower Mound, Texas, is within the expected ranges for males and females.
In response to community concerns about a possible cluster of cancer cases, DSHS analyzed the occurrence of childhood and overall leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, childhood brain cancer and female breast cancer in the 75022 and 75028 ZIP codes, using Texas Cancer Registry data from 1998 to 2007. The number of cancer cases occurring in these two ZIP codes was compared with the number of cases expected based on statewide rates.
“The incidence of all but breast cancer was within a statistically normal range in these two Flower Mound areas,” said Eric Miller, the DSHS epidemiologist who conducted the analysis. “We found nothing in the data to indicate the community is at higher risk for these types of cancers. However, we understand residents’ concerns and will continue to analyze new cancer data from these two areas.”
In ZIP code 75028 and both ZIP codes combined, the analysis did find a statistically higher than expected number of breast cancer cases, although there isn’t any established scientific link between breast cancer and benzene, the contaminant of chief concern to the Flower Mound community. The breast cancer result could be due to overall population increases in Flower Mound and the likelihood that women in this area are more frequently screened for breast cancer.
In response to requests for an assessment of more current data, DSHS also compared the average annual number of cases for the same four cancers in the same two ZIP codes from 2007 to 2009 with the average annual number of cases from 1998 to 2007.
The average annual number of childhood leukemia and brain cancer cases remained essentially unchanged from 2007 to 2009 compared with the previous 10 years. The average annual number of cases of overall leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer was somewhat higher from 2007 to 2009.
However, DSHS cautions against drawing any conclusions regarding the 2007 to 2009 results, as the data for this time period are still being received and evaluated by the department. The number of individual cancer cases can fluctuate significantly from year to year, particularly with rarer cancers and in such small geographic areas. An annual increase or decrease doesn’t necessarily indicate a longer-term trend.
“Flower Mound’s significant population increase alone could account for a higher average number of cancer cases between 2007 and 2009,” Miller said. “We consider these figures a snapshot, not a complete picture, and that’s why we’ll continue to collect and analyze the data from this area.”
This study only collected data up to 2007.
The majority of the child and adult leukemia cases were diagnosed after 2007.
Click here to read study results.
After reading Texas Department of Health Services press release about the breast cancer, I started researching and found Camp Legeune in North Carolina has a long history of cancer. There have been 40 men diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. In addition to the breast cancer, other cancers have been diagnosed. Officials recently pinpointed the source as a Fuel Farm that leaked BENZENE and other chemicals into the water source. Click here for article.
For years the Marine Corps knew the fuel farm, built in 1941, was leaking 1,500 gallons a month and did nothing to stop it, according to a 1988 memo from a Camp Lejeune lawyer to the base's assistant facilities manager. "It's an indefensible waste of money and a continuing potential threat to human health and the environment," wrote Staff Judge Advocate A.P. Tokarz.
Minutes of a 1996 meeting with Moon Township, Pa.-based Baker Corp., the third contractor, indicate the fuel farm had lost 800,000 gallons of fuel, of which 500,000 gallons had been recovered. Benzene was "in the deeper portion of the aquifer" and the "fuel farm is definitely the source," the minutes quote a Michael Baker employee as saying.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Release date: 03/23/2010
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to include additional emissions sources in its first-ever national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting system. The data from these sectors will provide a better understanding of where GHGs are coming from and will help EPA and businesses develop effective policies and programs to reduce emissions.
“Gathering this information is the first step toward reducing greenhouse emissions and fostering innovative technologies for the clean energy future,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “It’s especially important to track potent gases like methane, which traps more than 20 times as much heat as carbon and accelerates climate change. Once we know where we must act, American innovators and entrepreneurs can develop new technologies to protect our atmosphere and fight climate change.”
EPA finalized the first-ever mandatory greenhouse gas reporting requirement in October of 2009. That rule required 31 industry sectors, covering 85 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions, to track and report their emissions.
In addition to those 31 industries, the agency is now proposing to collect emissions data from the oil and natural gas sector, industries that emit fluorinated gases, and from facilities that inject and store carbon dioxide (CO2) underground for the purposes of geologic sequestration or enhanced oil and gas recovery. Methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems and is more than 20 times as potent as CO2 at warming the atmosphere, while fluorinated gases are even stronger and can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Data collected from facilities that inject CO2 underground would enable EPA to track the amount of CO2 that is injected and in some cases require a monitoring strategy for detecting potential emissions to the atmosphere.
The data will also allow businesses to track their own emissions, compare them to similar facilities, and identify cost effective ways to reduce their emissions in the future.
EPA is also proposing to require all facilities in the reporting system, including those proposed today, to provide information on their corporate ownership.
Under these proposals, newly covered sources would begin collecting emissions data on January 1, 2011 with the first annual reports submitted to EPA on March 31, 2012. These proposals will be open for public comment for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The agency will also hold public hearings on these proposals on April 19, 2010 in Arlington, Va. and April 20, 2010 in Washington, D.C.
More information on these proposals and the hearings: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/proposedrule.html
in the event of earthquakes, what happens to the integrity of the concrete casing that supposedly protects our water from the intrusion of chemicals and poisonous gas? Also, if in an earthquake more cracks are created, what protects further migration of poisons?
Click here to read Schlumberger article, then download the pdf.
Evidence of urban drilling dangers can no longer be ignored
Last month, I wrote about several recent accidents tied to natural gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations reported from around the country. A pipeline rupture in Virginia. An 8,000-gallon frack water spill in Pennsylvania. A pipeline explosion in El Paso.
I felt it was important to use real-world examples – rather than hypothetical possibilities – to illustrate the legitimate threats posed by the proliferation of gas drilling in our community. After all, only a fool fails to learn from the mistakes of others. None of us wants the next catastrophic accident to occur in Flower Mound.
Little did I know that in just a few weeks’ time, the dangers would strike much closer to home. Better grab a pitcher of coffee…we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
On March 17, roughly 3,000 gallons of flowback water, a toxic byproduct of the fracking process,
was spilled at the Cummings gas well site in Flower Mound. The site is operated by Williams Production, the busiest driller in town, which claims the spill was contained before it could affect surface water. Fortunately, it wasn’t raining at the time, or the damage could have been much greater, since the spill occurred at a high elevation on the Cummings property. State and local response teams were dispatched to the scene; but, as usual, details are hard to come by.
Curiously, there’s no mention of the spill on the Town’s web site whatsoever.
(For the record, the 8,000-gallon spill referenced above led to a suspension of fracking operations in Dimock Township, Pa., and fines from the state on Cabot Oil & Gas totaling $176,650. So far, no word on whether Williams will be fined for its Flower Mound spill.)
Last Friday, tank batteries storing a petroleum by-product of the gas-drilling process exploded in Decatur, injuring two workers. Four tanks were set ablaze, and a fifth was blown away from the others. Video of the fire, which fortunately took place in a fairly remote location, offered a stark reminder of the potential perils of centralized storage facilities such as the one for which zoning changes were approved by our Town Council in January. Williams is planning a massive complex off Scenic Road, within a mile of Liberty Elementary and several neighborhoods, with as many as 38 tanks to store waste water from more than 125 proposed gas wells. As we witnessed in Decatur, and in Lamesa last May, when one tank blows, the rest can follow quickly.
Earlier this month, methane levels 20 times above normal background levels were detected in the air around the same Williams site on Scenic Drive. The methane plumes were so high, they exceeded the upper limits of the instrument’s detection range. Methane is a surrogate gas for benzene, xylene and other toxic and carcinogenic volatile organic compounds, according to Wilma Subra, an environmental chemist. Tests are being conducted to determine whether any other toxins were also present.
As if to underscore Subra’s concern, elevated levels of cancer-causing benzene, methane and other toxic chemicals above the state’s levels for safe short- and long-term exposure were reported last Saturday at Range Resources’ Rayzor Ranch gas well in Denton.
And don’t get me started about the elevated carbon disulfide levels found at three sites across Flower Mound. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) now wants us to believe that its standards are “unrealistically low.” In other words, we can’t possibly maintain these levels with all the drilling go on around us…
More air quality tests performed in February by the TCEQ found extremely high levels of toxic emissions at a Chesapeake Energy facility in Godley, roughly 30 minutes southwest of Fort Worth.
And in one of the most egregious examples of “Drillers Gone Wild,” Aruba Petroleum has virtually destroyed the property of Tim and Christine Ruggiero with seemingly non-stop leaks, spills and emissions at its drilling site in Decatur. The Ruggieros’ story would be shameful if it took place in the former Soviet Union. That it’s happening here seems downright criminal.
Not to be forgotten, Flower Mound residents are still awaiting the findings of a childhood leukemia/cancer cluster investigation being conducted by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Results were expected in February, but were apparently delayed due to all the media attention. The study was elevated to the Governor’s office for further scrutiny and “edits,” and is expected to be released this week. We can only hope the oil and gas lobby has not been granted editing rights.
Meanwhile, several local and state governments have taken proactive measures to protect their citizens. Oil and gas leases have been suspended in Montana, while drilling moratoriums are being pursued in Colorado, New York, and Pennsylvania. Even the industry-friendly Texas Senate is beginning to seek more accountability for drillers.
Perhaps most encouraging of all, just last week, in a groundbreaking development with far-reaching implications, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a $1.9 million study of potential health and safety threats posed by hydraulic fracturing. That’s right, the feds have gotten so many complaints from citizens in Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arkansas, Texas and elsewhere that they simply couldn’t ignore the obvious any more.
Get the picture?
Flower Mound Council Members Al Filidoro and Tom Hayden have. They’ve called for a six-month moratorium on new drilling and centralized facility applications, to give the town time to consider new ordinances and other measures that will protect the health, safety and quality of life of our citizens. Given the mounting evidence of risks in and around our area, and the nightmarish experiences of other communities around the country, who could quarrel with such prudent, commonsense steps?
Perhaps Upton Sinclair answered that rhetorical question best when he said “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Indeed, the drillers and their apologists have gone on the offensive, casting moratorium supporters as “cry babies,” “whiners” and even Communists. They’ve disputed every negative test result, trivialized every accident and, predictably, threatened litigation against the town should it attempt to slow down their full-on industrialization of Flower Mound.
Ironically, if mineral owners would stop singing from the drillers’ hymnal long enough to pay attention, they’d realize they could be the biggest beneficiaries of a moratorium. According to Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, a Cornell professor and expert on hydraulic fracturing, prices for natural gas at the wellhead have dropped by more than a factor of two over the past year and a half. “If you’re a landowner, now is not a good time to sell your gas,” says Ingraffea. “Wait. It will never be worth less than it’s worth now.”
Hmm. No wonder Williams is in such a hurry to plunder the Barnett Shale.
Mayor Pro Tem Jean Levenick, who leased her mineral rights to Williams, had the audacity to accuse Filidoro and Hayden of waging a “politically motivated fear campaign.” Right out of the drillers’ talking points…
She disputed their contention that drillers have accelerated their applications, saying none had been received since December 7. But she conveniently failed to mention that 10 applications were submitted that very day – roughly as many as had been received in the entire previous year – less than 24 hours before an administrative moratorium was quietly enacted by the town. Curious timing, no? Why did Levenick gloss over that? Who is she protecting?
Mayor Jody Smith, another Williams lease holder who is running for re-election despite promising during her last campaign to “term limit” herself, has offered nary a comment about the latest drilling incidents. Hopefully she’s using her down time to familiarize herself with the petition drive that’s been underway since mid-February. You may recall she feigned ignorance of the petition at the last council meeting in one of the most brazen acts of political gamesmanship ever seen in local government.
What strange vortex has Flower Mound been sucked into?
One last point: Drilling advocates frequently cite the oil and gas industry’s stranglehold on Texas, as if their right to tap minerals had been ordained by God. They caution that any attempt to thwart the drillers would inevitably be overturned in Austin or by the courts. Threats of litigation from our “good neighbors” in the drilling industry, they say, could bankrupt the town. Mayor Smith and her cronies have repeatedly encouraged this cowardly stance, leading many to wonder what they are doing in office if they are afraid to stand up for their constituents.
Yet evidence suggests we aren’t as impotent as they’d like us to believe. In fact, Flower Mound prevailed in a suit brought by Red Oak Gas which challenged the town’s refusal to grant 15 variances to drill on the River Walk development. The suit cost Flower Mound less than $35,000 to defend. Contrast that with the $409,134 spent on median beautification in 2009, and you start to get a feel for the priorities of our elected officials.
Another lawsuit, brought by the good folks at Williams-affiliate Mockingbird Pipeline, is setting up a precedent-setting legal battle to determine whose rights to eminent domain are superior: a utility’s or a town’s. Heaven forbid the town loses this landmark case, which will be watched closely all across the nation. Methinks even mineral owners would shudder at the notion that a drilling company could trump a municipality’s rights to its own property.
It may cost us $50,000 to $100,000 in legal fees to defend this suit throughout the inevitable appeals process (though other communities with a stake in the result could help offset some of our costs); but I, for one, am willing to sacrifice a little shrubbery to defend our land.
At the risk of sounding alarmist, it’s safe to say the fate of our town will be decided over the next few weeks and months. As the Flower Mound Cares petition drive approaches its 6,000-signature goal – more than 4,700 concerned citizens have signed as of March 21 – residents have made clear that they will demand action even in the face of opposition and intimidation by the Mayor and her allies on the Town Council.
And on May 8, citizens will go to the polls with a very clear choice to make: Support Mayor Smith and her slate of like-minded candidates, who champion the acceleration of urban drilling and refuse to demand accountability from the drilling companies; or elect candidates who have listened to the concerns voiced by the vast majority of Flower Mound citizens, and who are dedicated to protecting the health, safety and quality of life of all their constituents – not just mineral owners who have sold their rights, if not their souls, to the gas interests.
The drillers have made clear they will spare no expense to elect “their” candidates. You’ll see evidence of that very soon, as their advertising, phone banks and public relations campaigns kick into high gear. Former council member Jeff Tasker, an attorney now representing Williams (wink, wink), is orchestrating the effort like only a former town official could.
God help Flower Mound if they prevail.
Ladd Biro is a small business owner and syndicated sports columnist who has lived in Flower Mound since 2002
Monday, March 22, 2010
There has been talk about the results from the Texas Department of Health Services Leukemia and Lymphoma Cancer Cluster Study might be presented. As of today I was told by a representative of the TDHS, the following information.
The Flower Mound report has been delayed because of all the media action. This has gone all the way to the Governor’s office and the legislature. Because of all that, the report has received a lot of study and scrutiny before release. It was ready to go before Spring Break, but because several key people were out last week, it is supposed to be released this week. They are still editing it as we speak.
I asked if the study would be opened back up to include the years 2008-2009 and I was told this info.
The study will be updated next year to include more recent data.
Show up, speak up and wear green.
- When: Thursday, March 25, 6pm – 10pm
- Where: Town Hall, 2121 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, TX
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Thank you to all their hard work.
We wanted to give you an update on the progress of The Flower Mound Petition Association drive and ask for your continued support as we enter the final push toward our goal of 6,000 signatures. These signatures allow the town to “take a breath” and re-evaluate natural gas operations and storage procedures for the Town of Flower Mound.
It has been almost two months since the five founding members gathered and joined forces. Our goal then and now is to mitigate, using the legal means necessary, the decision of the Town Council on Jan 21, 2010 that paved the way for Consolidated Gas Compression Facilities and Produced Water Storage Batteries to be permitted in Flower Mound.
Each founding member joined for different reasons. And each individual brings a varied background to the table. One member is a father with a desire to protect his children from something he considers a risk to his family. Another is a nurse with the desire to reduce questionable chemicals linked to childhood leukemia. We also have a local realtor who wants to do what is right for her community and her family, along with a soccer mom determined to fight and keep the unique character of Flower Mound. “Bringing up the rear” is a retired Army officer who felt the call to duty to fight for citizens so easily dismissed by their local government.
Each one of us committed to the petition cause because we love this town. We plan to live and raise our families here. We refuse to just give up and move away, because gas companies want to place drilling complexes close to schools and residences. We will not live in a Town where the Mayor and Town Council ignore the will of the people. So with legal counsel, our association put together a petition and a proposed ordinance that we presented to you, our fellow citizens.
Despite negative publicity and interference from opponents in our community, we have gathered more than 4,000 signatures of support. This exceeds the number of citizens that typically vote in a Town election.
Throughout the petition drive, we have heard moving stories from parents of children stricken with leukemia. We have engaged mineral rights owners in respectful dialogue, even gaining some of their signatures and support. We have done our best to promote awareness about the potential health and environmental risks of urban drilling, while suggesting alternative industry practices that can bridge the gap between tapping our natural resources and protecting our community. During this effort, we remain committed to individual property rights, both surface and mineral owners.
We are nearing the April 5 legislative deadline for our petition drive. We need roughly 2,000 more signatures to reach our goal. Over the coming days, many selfless, caring volunteers will continue knocking on your doors, asking you to support our mutual cause. Several supportive business owners, who have let us set up our tables in front of their shops, continue to encourage us to fight on. We thank these businesses for donating space to the petition drive.
We urge the community to join us by signing the petition. Do it for yourself. Do it for your children and neighbors. Do it because this is America, and under the laws established by our state and federal constitutions, we have the right to maintain a town where we all want to live and raise our families.
If you have any questions or would like more information, go to: http://mysite.verizon.net/fmcares/index.html
NCTCA PROUDLY PRESENTS
- When: Thursday, April 8, 2010
- Where: Studio Movie Grill
225 Merchants Row
Arlington, Texas 76018
For directions to the theater go to:
****TICKET INFORMATION AVAILABLE SOON****
YOU asked for it...... we listened!
Join us for a special presentation of Split Estate, the award- winning documentary that presents a riveting look at a David vs. Goliath confrontation unfolding in communities thought the United States and particularly in the north Texas Barnett Shale.
We will also have a special presentation by Amy Mall, Senior Policy Analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who has publicly stated, "Split Estate tells a powerful story about Americans living with the dirty side of oil and gas development in their own backyards."
Natural gas is being sold to the American public as the answer to all of our energy woes. It's championed by industry and politicians on both sides of the aisle as "the clean fossil fuel," and "the bridge fuel," as we look to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on foreign oil.
In the midst of the hype, Split Estate shows there is no such thing as a "clean" fossil fuel. Nor is there clean extraction, as citizens on the front lines of the drilling boom will attest.
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
Gary Hogan, V.P.
Louis McBee, Treas.
Friday, March 19, 2010
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ordered the Bureau of Land Management to suspend 61 leases in Montana within 90 days.
"We view this as a very big deal, if a modest first step, in the BLM addressing climate change in oil and gas development," said plaintiffs' attorney Erik Schlenker-Goodrich. "It's quite a dirty process, but there are ways to clean it up."
A similar lawsuit challenging 70,000 acres of federal lands in New Mexico is still pending.
Click here to read article.
Way to go OGAP!!
Sign up for Texas OGAP alerts and support their efforts here in Texas. The legislative session is just around the corner. We need drilling reform and TXOGAP will be a great resource for demanding better drilling practices.
Williams spokesperson Tim Colwell stated it was mostly saltwater with chemical additives in small amounts. Just exactly what those chemicals are we will never know because they don't have to tell us thanks to the "Halliburton Loophole". Colwell stated that the amount of fluid that leaked could fill an above ground swimming pool.
Following the incident, town staff members went to the site, the TRC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) were notified, and later the TRC inspected the site.
The product loss report stated that no surface water was affected in the incident. It stated that following the leak, a vacuum truck was used to contain the free liquid. The affected soil was delineated and removed to roll-off containers for temporary storage. It stated that storm water collection devices were installed to prevent potential runoff during remediation.
It went on to state that removed soil and clean soil will be mixed together to provide the proper level of chloride and then will be returned to the excavation. Then, before and after cleanup, excavated soil samples will be taken to ensure proper remediation.
Click here to read Flower Mound Star article.
The EPA gave hydraulic fracturing its stamp of approval in a 2004 report , but that study has been widely criticized as politically-motivated and scientifically unsound. After the report was released, veteran EPA scientist Weston Wilson wrote a letter  to Colorado representatives saying that "based on available science and literature, EPA’s conclusions are unsupportable." He also wrote that five out seven members of a panel that reviewed the findings had conflicts of interest and "may benefit from EPA’s decision not to conduct further investigation or impose regulatory conditions."
In a Wall Street Journal article, The American Petroleum Institute released this statement.
The American Petroleum Institute said in a statement, "We expect the study to confirm what 60 years of experience and investigation have already demonstrated: that hydraulic fracturing is a safe and well understood technology for producing oil and natural gas."
But in a video we posted about hydraulic fracturing, Lee Fuller, VP of the Independent Petroleum Association of America admits that even with the best practices that contamination may occur. He said the cement casing will deteriorate over time, wells will need to be re-worked periodically and even when it done the cement may be flawed and there may still be failures.
The EPA will be looking into the effects of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater, surface water, human health and the environment. The study is expected to be completed by 2012. Click here to read the ABC News article.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Yesterday there was a spill of 80 barrels of flow back water that contained fracking fluid and other toxic chemicals. In the Dallas Morning News article, it said that this is the first spill reported to town officials related to gas drilling operations.
A good question is how many haven't been reported? It is no secret that residents are watching Williams and other gas drilling companies' operations more closely than before. They are reporting odors and any activity that appears to be out of the norm.
Council Members Filidoro and Hayden want to see better standards put in place.
They want to review the process for granting variances for drilling and the recent zoning amendment for centralized wastewater collection facilities in agricultural areas
They also want requirements for recycling wastewater at pad sites and to continually monitor air quality throughout the town and at pad sites.
The proposal also would include adoption of new standards for spills, penalties for air and water quality violations and installing vapor recovery systems.
With the prospect of 100's of wells in the future, now is the time to demand better drilling practices in the Town of Flower Mound. Filidoro and Hayden are currently the minority on the town council. The other council members, Dixon, Levenick, and Wallace, have not shown the desire to for better protections or a moratorium. This is evident by their voting records in the past on drilling related issues. It will be interesting to see if anything will be accomplished before the May 8th elections.
Children breathe more air in proportion to their weight than do adults, and because their bodies are still developing toxic chemicals affect them more profoundly. Exposures to chemicals today portend a "flood of chronic disease" tomorrow, said Ted Schettler, science director for the advocacy group Science and Environmental Health Network.
Today's EPA is making many changes to protect the health of our children.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., was more pointed. He said efforts to protect children from environmental hazards "ground to a halt during the Bush administration" and the EPA office for children's health "withered on the vine."
"The good news is: Things have turned around," he said.
The EPA stated in this article in USA today on March 5th, air testing near schools is a priority.
On Tuesday, for instance, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent a memo to her staff reminding them that "protecting children's environmental health is central to our work at EPA."
"Let me reaffirm that it is EPA's policy to consider the health of pregnant women, infants and children consistently and explicitly in all activities we undertake related to human-health protection, both domestically and internationally," the memo said. "We must be diligent in our efforts to ensure that dangerous exposures and health risks to children are prevented."
Let's hope they start right here in Flower Mound.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
When I arrived at the scene the vacuum truck was cleaning up and later the dirt was being dumped and moved around the area. In the video you can see the emissions from the area. The gas company would like us to think it is just steam but you can be sure there are some VOC's (volatile organic compounds) in this steam. Pretty sure this could be a tank valve problem. Either a faulty one or someone didn't close it.
Click here for video.
As I sat there and watched this clean up, a couple questions came to mind.
How many of these spills have there been?
If I had not been there and witnessed the clean up, would we even know about it?
Thank goodness it was not raining because the well site sits above a pond and appears to be the highest point on this property.I have heard the Texas Railroad Commission was contacted. More info to come when it is available.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Dr. Armendariz addressed the crowd before the public participation started. The proposed new ozone standards will be between 60 and 70 parts per billion. If Texas can't meet the new standard, then the state will be required to create a plan to clean up the air to protect human health.
Tighter standards will save thousands of lives each year. The amount of lives saved greatly increase from tightening the standards to 70, 65, and 60 ppb. It is estimated that 1,500 to 12,000 lives a year will be saved.
Dr. Armendariz talked about the many health effects from high ozone levels in the air.
- Reduced lung function
- Airway irritation and damage
- Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections
- Permanent lung damage
- Shortness of breath and chest pain
- Wheezing and coughing
- Increased treatment or hospitalization of people with lung diseases, such as asthma or COPD, include emphysema, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis
- Premature Death
The asthma rate has sharply risen in the DFW area. A recent study showed that 25% of 8 to 9 year old children have asthma. That is much higher than the state average of 7%. Stronger standards will prevent an estimated 23,000 to 58,000 asthma attacks each year.
Opponents to the tighter standards want us to think that clean air is bad for business here in Texas but that is the opposite. The health care costs to treat the health effects listed above cost residents, employers, and the state outrageous amounts of money and will likely climb as the air in Texas deteriorates.
Alisa Rich from Wolf Eagle Environmental spoke about the Flower Mound leukemia cases, recent Flower Mound air quality testing done by Kleinfelder for the town, and the high levels of methane detected near gas drilling production sites. She stated flaws in the Flower Mound air test results and begged the EPA to get involved.
Sharon Wilson of the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project presented this TXOGAP and FWCANDO video . She talked about the Drill Right Texas..Best Oil & Gas Development Practices for Texas. Stating the proposed stronger standard ozone levels one of the many essential tools needed to clear our air.
Dr. Armendariz said the EPA will make the final ruling on the ozone level by August 31st of this year.
You still have time to submit your comments to the EPA in support of the new ozone standards. The deadline is March 22nd.
How to Comment
Proposal to Revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: Instructions for Submitting Comments
EPA will accept public comments for until March 22, 2010 on the proposed revisions to the ozone standards.
Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2005 -0172 and submitted by one of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov/
- e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail code 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460), or
- Hand delivery (EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC).
To read a fact sheet on the proposed rule, visit http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/pdfs/fs20100106std.pdf
The text of the proposed rule http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/fr/20100119.pdf
Everyday we hear stories of how gas drilling has affected the health and quality of life for many people all over the country. Some have signed leases believing they were going to become rich, or were doing their patriotic duty to help America.
“We are at crossroads... in how the oil and gas industry is going to be looked at and worked with, and if the oil and gas industry can coexist with populated areas,”
“Here in some areas, oil and gas is seen as the bad guy,” said Keffer.
There are a hell of a lot more surface people than mineral people now involved,” he added, “and that is something that the industry has to get their arms around and understand that those people have rights, too, and they need to be talked to.”
Those who don't own their minerals have no choice when gas drilling companies come onto their land or next to their property to access the minerals below. If you listen to their stories, you hear the same thing over and over, the gas company said they are going to drill whether we want them too or not. We hear that promises are made to the residents and not kept. When accidents happen, the burden of proof is put on the homeowner. So is there really a lack of communication? Or a lack of respect? Look at the Ruggiero's. There are many other families just like them all over the country. Just take the time to read through the blog.
Keffer said he didn’t know if more legislation was the answer to solving the problems; however, the state could improve its handling of industry operations.
The Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates the energy industry, “hasn’t stepped up to the plate as they should have,” Keffer said. “I think they’ve been too quiet.” The agency needs money for more people to regulate and educate, he said.
We agree that the Texas Railroad Commission hasn't stepped up to the plate and better regulation is needed but more education for the people of the shale? What we need is for the TRC and gas drilling companies to respect the health, safety, and quality of life that every American deserves.
If state agencies can’t show they’re effectively overseeing in the industry, Keffer expects the federal government to step in.
Better drilling practices are desperately needed and must be demanded. The TRC needs to be there for the residents of Texas and not the drilling companies. Maybe it is time for the federal government to step in.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Not only is this hearing your last chance to officially support a better ozone standard, it's the opening salvo of local organizing for a new clean air plan for DFW.
Pre-register to speak at the DFW Ozone Hearing:To pre-register to speak at the People's Clean Air hearing, please email Stephanie Nugent. If you wish to speak at the people's hearing but don't pre-register, you can arrive anytime between 3 and 7 p.m.
Help spread the word!
Click here to download a flier to print out and pass along to your friends!
For more information, please contact Eva Hernandez at 512.477.1729.
WHAT: Dallas-Fort Worth Ozone Hearing
WHEN: Tuesday, March 16, 3 - 7 p.m.
WHERE: Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, Arlington, TX 76010
SPEAKER: Dr. Al Armendariz, EPA Region 6 Administrator
Sunday, March 14, 2010
This article in Emerging Health Threats states that Denton County has been flagged for having some of the highest levels of Chromium in the air.
Other “hot spots” flagged by the researchers include Middlesex County in Massachusetts, and Denton County in Texas.
Last summer large amounts of Hexavalent Chromium were found in drinking water wells in Midland, TX. The only industry in the area is Oil and Gas. Click here to read article.
Hexavalent chromium compounds, a toxic form of the element chromium, are man-made and used as an anticorrosive and rust inhibitor.
In 2003, United States soldiers were exposed to large amounts of Hexavalent Chromium while guarding Halliburton Contractors in Iraq. Click here to read complete article.
The group, Veterans for Common Sense, reports that at least 48 Oregon soldiers tasked with protecting Haliburton contractors at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant, were exposed.
The chemical, Hexavalent Chromium Salts, are best exemplified by various Dichromate salts usually used to remove ALL traces of organic material by chemically burning them from any other material.
This corrosive action also acts on human skin where it causes severe irritation and especially the nose, trachea and lungs where it causes nosebleeds, coughing, pain on breathing and headaches, but especially lung cancer.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Davis said the new measures are a step in the right direction.
“Is that enough? No. Does it take us to a better place than where we are today? Yes,”
Click here to read the article in the Fort Worth Business Press.
Just recently the TCEQ took enforcement action against Aruba Petroleum out at the Ruggiero's Ranch in Decatur as previously posted.
Remember to report any odors or leaks to the TCEQ.To make a complaint, click here.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Previously, we posted information on how to make a complaint to the TCEQ. Some residents were a bit frustrated with the process. But you can see if you are persistent like the Ruggiero's were, you will see results.
Flower Mound resident Jennifer Rogers will be hosting a free class on Producing Hydrocarbons and Managing Water - A Primer
Engineer Aaron Horn, President of Ecosphere Energy Services, will conduct the class at the Flower Mound Library on April 26th, Monday, at 7pm.
Topics to be covered in the class:
Water in the Natural Gas Industry
Questions - until the last person leaves
Ecosphere offers on-site mobile recycling of produced water. Click here to go to their website.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Click here to watch.
It shows how the industry manipulates people.
The people in this video state that "they signed but they are not happy", they felt they had no choice. Residents claim that they were pressured, bullied, lied too, etc.
In addition to that, the residents claim the gas company has a lack of respect for the landowners.
WHEN: Thursday, March 11, 2010
6:30 - 7:00 pm - Coffee/Tea & Networking
7:00 - 8:45 pm - Meeting & Program
8:45 - 9:15 pm - Networking
WHAT: Program: "GAS DRILLING BASICS 101"
YOU asked for it...... we listened! We'll have a panel of knowledgeable, experienced, Community Leaders who have been involved in promoting measures to protect our HEALTH, SAFETY AND PROPERTY RIGHTS!
WHERE: Hotel Trinity - Inn Suites I-30 @ Beach Street (east of downtown Ft. Worth)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
When: April 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm
Where: LISD Student Services Building
What: A candidate forum with questions submitted in advance from residents of LISD. Questions will be asked by a moderator. The public is encouraged to attend.
All candidates are aware of this event and some have already expressed their plans to attend.
Residents who want to submit questions should do so in writing by e-mailing Cinnamon Dilts, Legislative Action Chair for the Council, at email@example.com.
Questions will be sorted by subject and asked by a moderator. Candidates will have time limits for their responses.
Cinnamon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-697-1743 (cell).
The Candidates are as follows:
Tommy Kim (incumbent)
Jeffrey Allen Knapp
Kathy Duke (incumbent)
Julie Linnea Foughty website: http://www.julieforlisd.com/
Fred Placke (incumbent)
Brenda Lynn Latham website: http://www.latham4lisd.com/
Patrick Michael Kelly facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/VotePatrick/313121608120
Chris Hawes of News 8, reported last night that concerning levels of Benzene have been found on their property. Who knows what other chemicals are lurking around.
When is this going to stop?
Texas will be entering their legislative session in January of 2011.
Now is the time to make sure you are electing the right officials that will fight for our residents like the Ruggiero's, fight for our towns and fight for our state. Click here for Flower Mound candidate information.
Now is the time to contact those elected officials already in place and tell them you demand drilling reform.
For those of us in Flower Mound, now is the time to sign the Flower Mound Cares Petition.
Now is the time to support organizations like the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project. They have had success in states like New Mexico and Colorado by lobbying for better regulations on the state level.
The more voices, the louder the message.