facebooktwitterRSS

fracking banner

Welcome to the Vindy.com Fracking page, the Mahoning Valley's home for the latest news and information about the natural oil and gas drilling industry.

- Advertisement -

Drilling Sites in Ohio (interactive map)

interactive map link

shale well
 

« Shale Sheet Home

DRILLING IN SHALE REGIONS || How Safe Is The Air?


Published: Fri, April 6, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

photo

Calvin Tillman, former mayor of Dish, Texas, who stands in front of the town hall.

RELATED: • Texas energy exhibition generates enthusiasm

By Doug Livingston

TheNewsOutlet.org

AUBREY, TEXAS

Calvin Tillman plays a message on his cellphone from Stark County resident Renee Bogue. She’s concerned about possible drilling under the Legends Golf Course in Massillon, where the mayor and council in that Ohio city are proposing legislation to lease city-owned mineral rights for gas drilling.

“Who will monitor the air quality?” Bogue asks.

After the message, Tillman looks up from his kitchen table in Aubrey, Texas, and answers. No one. “Nobody’s just gonna go out there and do it. The industry’s certainly not. The city’s probably not. And your state’s probably not, unless there’s a complaint,” Tillman says.

A former Texas mayor, he’s received similar phone calls from concerned citizens across the nation.

He is no geologist, petroleum engineer or environmentalist. But he travels the world advocating oil and gas accountability. Last fall, the former mayor was in the Canton area and met Bogue, a teacher who retired after 35 years with Perry Local Schools.

The story he tells is that of Dish, where he was mayor. It’s a town of 200 people, more than 30 gas and oil wells, extensive natural-gas pipelines, five natural-gas compressor stations, seven gas-and-oil operators, and the first air-quality study in response to natural-gas production in the Barnett Shale.

The air-quality test indicated hazardous levels of chemicals such as benzene, which the report states have been “known to have both carcinogenic and neurotoxin capabilities.”

A map of the Barnett Shale region from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which regulates the state’s air quality, shows little orange dots representing gas wells. The dots around Dish resemble a dumped paint bucket.

Tillman drops a stack of collated documents onto his kitchen table in Aubrey and pulls three air-quality tests from the pile.

“It’s gonna be in Ohio,” Tillman cautions. “How much benzene do you want your kids exposed to?”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency links leukemia and blood disorders to benzene exposure, which was discovered in varying amounts in each air-quality-test conducted on the Barnett Shale region.

But TCEQ officials stress that benzene occurs naturally and would be found in nearly any air test. They caution that increased traffic in metropolitan areas such as Fort Worth, the fourth largest in the U.S., produce more benzene and ozone gases than natural-gas drilling.

“There are a lot of wells in Wise and Denton counties that are emitting chemicals like benzene,” said David Brymer, director of TCEQ’s air-quality division, said. “But in other counties, like Tarrant County, you have a lot of cars that also emit benzene. … So, you actually see higher concentrations of benzene in Tarrant County.”

Air monitors placed between concentrated gas drilling near rural Dish and densely populated Fort Worth pick up more benzene and other emissions when the wind pushes those chemicals from the city, Brymer said.

Last year, TCEQ again did an air-quality survey across the Barnett Shale.

“We haven’t seen any shocking results from that yet, but we also haven’t got all the results back,” Brymer said.

An air-quality test also was conducted last year by Fort Worth. The study “did not reveal any significant health risks beyond [city] setback distances” of 600 feet, which can be reduced to 300 feet after landowner waivers.

The $1 million study did find benzene in low levels and recommended “precautions to reduce emissions from the well pads and compressor stations should be made. This is particularly important for tanks and line-compressor engines.”

Dish has five compressor sites that push natural gas through pipelines. The line of stations, operated by Crosstex, Chesapeake, Atmos, Energy Transfer and Enbridge are located off a dead-end street of two-story homes built in the last 10 to 15 years.

The residents there are as confounded as the conflicting reports.

“You don’t know what to believe because you hear both sides,” said Kim Harris, whose brick home sits on the cul-de-sac at the end of the street.

She said no one in her family has experienced any adverse effects from living so close to the well sites.

A compressor site sits directly behind Johnny Reames’ small horse pasture. He said it’s an eyesore, and he worries the site, which was installed three or four months after Reames moved in, will affect his property value.

Though Reames has “never experienced any health problems,” he said “there were problems with smells every now and then, but in the last five or six months they’ve cleaned it up.”

Tillman didn’t wait until companies cleaned up in Dish. Like other critics, he left in 2011 after his children began suffering nosebleeds.

He lives in Aubrey now, about 25 miles northwest of Dish, just off the Barnett Shale. He said his children have been healthy since he moved.

The commission’s 27 air monitors measure volatile organic compounds and ozone concentrations. In the past two years, five automated air monitors have been added to the Barnett Shale region with an additional five expected in the next year.

But Tillman said the studies and accepted benzene levels are open to interpretation.

“One [report] says ‘no, you shouldn’t be exposed to that.’ And another one says, ‘nah, it’s not gonna hurt you,” Tillman said. “So, who do you believe?”

The NewsOutlet.org is a collaboration among the Youngstown State University journalism program, Kent State University, the University of Akron and professional media, including WYSU-FM Radio, The Vindicator, the Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio of Akron.


Comments

1juanita1944(34 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

poor kids......do we need ours to suffer also.......do we have to move from where we live to stop our kids from getting sick........can anyone see what's happening or is the money they get for the drilling really worth the life of our children? god sometimes the water already tastes bad,,,,,i have to buy water to drink.......the water smells....i'm a diabetic....we don't get things for nothing we have to pay dearly for the special stuff we need....which is very hard to live on the money we get.......do we buy water or get sick drinking the city water.....?please stop all this stuff that we can avoid from poisoning us....these wells are wrong..and never tell me we need them......we have tons of them now.....why is our gas prices going up to almost 5 dollars? where is the gas going? why are the prices not lower instead of higher....?we have other means of energy....lets use what we have and move on.....why are we destroying the earth?are children will suffer for our greed........stop the madness people quit bowing down to other countries....like the president did.......we are americans lets live like free americans.......

Suggest removal:

2Owlguin(49 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Only real way to tell is to start the monitoring process now. That will enable you to have a baseline when the wells are in place. In any case, it can't possibly be worse that what I used to inhale growing up in Youngstown in the 1960's. I hope it's not always going to be a choice between jobs and health in Youngstown.

Suggest removal:

3Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

What about all the cats and dogs
Their gassy things.

Suggest removal:

4JoeFromHubbard(1112 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Don't these shale stories provide great fodder for the fracophobics and environmentalist wackos?

Suggest removal:

5Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Did you ever smell a kids diaper
WOW that is gas that will knock you out or make you gag :(

Suggest removal:

6Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I think we should kill off all the old people because they seem to %art
more then the young people . HEY wait a minute I'm old FORGET THAT ONE
Start with the Dogs we are cat people

Suggest removal:

7bmanresident(597 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Reading these anti fracking articles that the Vindy keeps putting out really grinds my gears. Northeast Ohio needs JOBS, and I dont mean the fufu public sector jobs that rape and pillage the taxpayer, but Real jobs that drilling will create. Tell me, Vindy, if no one has a job then how are they going to afford your paper? Hmm? Maybe Bob Hagan will buy papers for everyone!

Suggest removal:

8Silence_Dogood(1383 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!
The sky is falling!

Suggest removal:

9Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Did you say
The sky is falling ????

Suggest removal:

10Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

What about all the squirrels and birds ??? Do they have gas free droppings . DOWN WITH SQUIRRELS
They past gas that will hurt my grandkids OMG

Suggest removal:

11JoeFromHubbard(1112 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

How about the cows? They are supposed to be great emitters of methane (natural gas). Why not equip them with portable gas sequestration gear?

When they come in to be milked, the gas could be gathered and marketed or used to heat the farm house.

Suggest removal:

12redeye1(4687 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Has anyone given any thought to how much cows fart? They ae the largest producers of methane gas. So maybe we should kill them all too.

Suggest removal:

13SheepleHerder(22 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

DRILL BABY....DRILLLLL!!!!!

Suggest removal:

14thinkthentalk(271 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

red, if obama so much as farts, you have a hissy fit and call him a socialist.

Suggest removal:

15KimFeil(2 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I see so many pro drilling guys following every word Tillman has...nice to know he's a threat to their pocketbock! Folks just admit that the surface equipment alone spewing out diesel is a health threat to those breathing it. Visibly frack sand flying through the air is a known lung hazard, the offensive odor in flowback fluids and the white wafting clouds of unknown chemicals that have reported health effects are a reality too. The nose bleeds occuring on the UTA campus in Arlington (they have 22 gas wells) is happening. The industry is out of time..the public has caught up to your nasty business and each day new people join the truth team. Drill baby drill is really kill baby kill. The three year air study done in Garfield Colorado was summerized on March 20 Downwinders At Risk as those living within 1/2 mile of gas wells has 2/3's increased cancer risk. Any questions?

Suggest removal:

16JoeFromHubbard(1112 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

If you are worried about "gas fumes," how about those folks who live near highways and truck stops. It never seemed to bother them.

Maybe all truck traffic should be stopped.

You can ride your horse to the general store once a month for supplies.

Suggest removal:

17Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Tell em Kim.

Suggest removal:



HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2014 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes