Wednesday, August 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022
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Nature & Environment

State Politely Requests Barnett Shale Operators Not to Kill Too Many People

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Tests show some wells are emiting benzene, a carinogen whose “long-term effects” are highly dangerous. The Texas Commission on Environment Quality seems to define  “long-term” as a year or more, which seems fairly short-term to me.  These are not little whiffs, either.

Air samples showed significant levels of benzene in several locations. One sample taken downwind from a tank seven miles west of DISH showed a level of 1,000 parts per billion, which is more than five times the commission’s short-term exposure limit of 180 parts per billion.

The Commission has known about these emissions since 2007 but forgot to share its test results with the Legislature or the Fort Worth City Council. I can understand why. The elected officials might have gotten a little upset, and in Texas we don’t want people to get upset, especially with the oil and gas industry. (It goes without saying that all three members of the Commission are Rick Perry appointees.)