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Our singing canaries

August 16, 2010

How many singing canaries do we need before everyone hears “the chorus”? This chorus of which we speak seem to be singing in a loud and unified song warning of the dangerous air that we all breathe in Texas.

To start listing a “top ten list of hits” by this chorus would take a lot of room on this site, so we will try to go with a smaller list.

Back in April, BP’s refinery in Texas City had some problems with it’s hydrogen processor went it went offline for 40 days. Suddenly, both workers and residents within a one mile radius began to show signs of illness. Even the TCEQ found that this was an “excessive emissions event”. The 10 billion dollar lawsuit was filed and only then were the plaintiff’s voices  heard.Once the TCEQ got this report, it tossed it into the lap of the state’s attorney general, Greg Abbott rather quickly. Mr. Abbott did the right thing in filing the lawsuit on behalf of the state.

The TCEQ hearings held in Arlington back in July were designated to discuss the high levels of smog that exist in the North Texas region. After the panel presented its findings, the public comment portion of the meeting began. Only the first two questions were vaguely related to smog issues. The remaining 41 public comments were all centered around the air quality in the DFW region as affected by natural gas drilling.

Again in July, TXI announced it’s plans to shut down the 4 kilns that have continued to produce toxic air quality from the southern end of Dallas county to the northern reaches of Denton county. Asthma numbers in our region continue to dominate the news. So when you have “flaming faucets” in your community or close enough to drive, you know you have problems. WFAA did a follow up report about the Gas Site #2 application that is awaiting approval from the city of Dallas. This one is proposed to sit between Joe Pool Lake, Mountain Creek Lake,close to  a fault line, an underground spring that feeds Joe Pool lake, and finally, next door to thousands of Dallas citizens. The mayor, or the city manager has yet to step forward and admit that this process has begun. Councilman Dave Neumann has announced that he will hold a town hall meeting to address the issue. Since the negotiations between city and industry began back in 2007, we thought that the summer of 2010 was more than a little late to be “talking” about the proposal.

Next up, the EPA hearings in Ft. Worth were held to discuss the effects of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas exploration. This was one of four hearings to be held in the United States regarding this process. That the DFW area was chosen as one of four regions is news enough for us. 600 people came to the hearing to listen to the EPA plan of investigating the process with results due in 2012. Comments ranged from gas industry spokespeople telling how safety was the number one issue for the companies, to residents telling the panel and audience their stories of mistrust for the industry and health/environmental catastrophes in their respective habitats.

Once again, on August 1 in Arlington, the EPA sponsored one of two hearings in the country built around natural gas drilling and it’s effect on air quality. DFW being designated a “hot spot” of concern for the government has not exactly sat well with the governor’s office. Repeatedly, the governor has stated that the TCEQ is doing the best job for keeping Texas air clean and job creation in Texas.

Coming up next month, on September 8th, the EPA holds hearings in Dallas regarding coal ash and it’s effects on our land and ourselves. Maybe it’s just “fate” but on Sunday evening, August 15, 60 minutes featured a story on this very topic. 130 million tons of annually accumulated coal waste seems a bit much, especially when mixed with flood water that envelopes a community.

So now we have today’s new hot hit with the air in Frisco full of lead as a result of the EXIDE battery plant located in town. It seems the EPA thinks that the air in Frisco is much too deadly for it’s citizens and is proposing new guidelines for the community.

With the city of Dallas on the verge of bringing natural gas exploration into the city, we think that the mayor, the city manager, and the city council might want to listen to the canary’s song. Only because we know that when the canary sings in the coal mine, it’s one song you might not like, but it’s a song you to which one must listen.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2010 1:23 pm

    The Oakridge School in Arlington is near the Quick Silver Gas Compressor Station and also near Exelon Power Plant and don’t those two make a lovely couple? One of the formaldehyde readings from the Titan air study showed 127 ppb (2.4 times higher than Houston Ship Channel and 7.5 times higher than maximum roadside levels). Last night I sent an “uninvited” press relaease to the faculty and to some of the parents on the parent committee. I received a call from the head master this morning who requested that I not be their canary – thank you very much and that I can move away if I don’t like what is happening to the city of Arlington. Easier said than done Mr Money.

  2. Ruth Ann King permalink
    August 19, 2010 5:40 pm

    I don’t like what’s happening to Arlington either. I have cut ties with my alma mater, UTA, over drilling and the harm that comes to the local community in return for the money UTA gets for leasing land to drillers. When school children are at risk and the community itself doesn’t care-what to you do? Perhaps the principal has his side to this story, but if he made such a comment-shame.

  3. Ruth Ann King permalink
    August 19, 2010 5:58 pm

    Cute Super Bowl costume!

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