Posted on 25. Jun, 2012 by Brandon Evans
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency isn’t stepping lightly into the Barnett Shale as it declared Wise County be placed in ozone non-attainment zone due primarily to oil and gas development. Despite the amount of pollution put out by oil and gas drilling, it’s hard to imagine that Wise County gas industry pollution equals the same seen from auto pollution in Metroplex counties such as Tarrant, Dallas and Denton that all have 20 times or more the population.
I guess it’s the EPA way to try to better monitor the oil and gas industry, but it’s the wrong way. If you look at any case of a person being affected by the gas industry in the Barnett Shale it’s always on an individual basis. I don’t know of any widespread affects, at this point in time, from gas drilling.
Gas drilling and production, if done correctly and properly monitored, is safe. But there are some companies and contractors that will cut corners to where they can not thinking of the cost of health and safety of those who live in the vicinity. There are several tragic cases in Wise County including ruined ground water, people suffering rashes, nosebleeds, head aches, memory loss and landscapes befouled.
But the only way to prevent such cases is to have more boots on the ground. The state needs to hire more inspectors in the Railroad Commission and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to monitor all levels of drilling and production. The EPA should too if they care so much. Or they should help the state hire more inspectors at the local level. That is the only way to ensure the health and safety of people and the environment from drilling activity. Using a blanket approach like ozone non-attainment on an industry that waxes and wanes and has plenty of companies with a good track record isn’t the answer. Like all things, the devil is in the details, which is where better regulation must start.