We, the undersigned, ask the city of Dallas to institute a six-month moratorium on gas drilling and create a local task force of citizens, environmental scientists and medical experts to assess the health and environmental effects of drilling that are being reported throughout the country. The New York State Legislature as well as local cities like Flower Mound, Texas have passed similar moratoriums on gas drilling due to increasing reports of water contamination, elevated air pollutants and health problems occurring near well drilling sites. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120043996
RISKS OF DRILLING
1. Significantly Elevated Carcinogen in 20% of Texas Pumps
* Benzene levels have been detected as high as 1,100 parts per billion, when 5 to 10 parts per billion are considered unsafe. http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/01/27/1926512/1-in-5-gas-well-sites-emits-too.html
* The cause of this toxic emission is the drilling process called Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) that injects a mixture of sand, massive amounts of water, and chemicals like Benzene into the ground to release gas.
2. Chemicals Used in Drilling
*carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, corrosion inhibitors, gellants, glycol ethers, breaker aids, and petroleum distillates, with 16 of the known chemicals used having been identified as having health effects in at least 10 categories.
3. Contaminated Water: EPA warning residents to not drink tainted water
* In DeBerry, Texas, the EPA advised all residents to not use their water for drinking or any other purposes after finding petroleum distillates, cadmium, barium, mercury, lead, arsenic and other compounds that were linked to the a drilling wastewater disposal site. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjzcwhkjOyA&feature=player_embedded
* In Wyoming, federal regulators have warned residents not to drink their water due to toxic contamination and recommended that they blow fans when washing clothes and showering in order to prevent the risk of explosions from methane gas. http://www.alternet.org/water/148069/feds_warn_residents_near_wyoming_gas_
* From 1983 to 2008, the Chautauqua County Department of Health documented more that 120 cases of ground water contamination from natural gas wells.
4. Methane Gas leads to Explosions
* Methane, which has been found in the drinking water in Dimock, PA, has also lead to well gas explosions, including a house in Cleveland, Ohio that exploded.
* Reports of flammable water in Montague county were featured on a news story via WFAA Dallas and have been reported in other parts of the country as well. www.wfaa.com/news/local/Flaming-faucets-alarm-Montague-County-family-97994344.html
5. Toxic Vapor Emissions Near Drilling Sites
* According to a public records review by the Dallas Morning News, all the Barnett Shale gas-processing plants, compressor stations and wells that were examined by infrared cameras in the most recent surveillance were found to be releasing invisible plumes of toxic emissions. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/yahoolatestnews/stories/041110dnmetbarnettshale.4044fed.html
* Elevated levels of drilling related toxic compounds were found in resident blood samples and city air samples in Dish, Texas. Only then did Endbridge Inc replace storage tanks with vapor recovery systems. http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/as-urban-gas-drilling-expands-so-do-health-744189
* EPA reports ozone reduction except in Barnett Shale. www.wfaa.com/news/local/Tests-reveals-overall-drop-in-pollution-except-in-Barnett-Shale.html
6. Drilling is Exempt from EPA regulation
* Under pressure from the gas lobby, the gas drilling process was made exempt from EPA regulation in the Clean Water Act. Due to the growing concern over the toxic effects of drilling, Congress has demanded the EPA review its impact amd lawmakers have introduced a bill to close the loophole. The EPA recently began holding public hearings on gas drilling in four different areas of the country where concerned residents have showed up in force with reports of water contamination, polluted air and associated health problems. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/21/fracking-epa-takes-new-lo_n_653903.html
Task Force: Assessing and Mitigating these Effect:
In order to examine and mitigate these risks, we call on the city of Dallas to create a task force of relevant experts and citizens unaffiliated with the gas industry to assess over a six-month moratorium period the environmental and health impact of drilling in an urban community like Dallas. We call for that panel to include experts from the following areas: environmental science, environmental medicine and environmental ethics. We also call for the panel to include representatives from concerned citizens groups, which should be included in the task force selection process.
For more information on how to be involved, please contact:
Dallas Area Residents for Responsible Drilling
Dallas Citizens for a Temporary Moratorium on Gas Drilling
We the undersigned call on the city of Dallas to institute a six-month moratorium on gas drilling, which would allow local and federal agencies time to review growing safety concerns. We also call on the city to create a task force of concerned citizens and non-gas-industry experts to assess the ongoing reports of health and environmental risks of drilling and determine whether they can be mitigated. The New York state legislature and the local town of Flower Mound have already instituted similar moratoriums due to increasing reports of water contamination, elevated air pollutants and health problems near wells throughout the country.
In Texas alone, twenty percent of the wells have demonstrated elevated emission levels of the known human carcinogen benzene, which in some cases has registered as high as 1,100 parts per billion when 5 to 10 parts per billion is considered an unsafe level. Reports and documentation of water contamination in private wells and other waters sources continue to mount despite the industry's claims that no water sources have been affected. After finding drilling related contaminants in the Pavillion, Wyoming town water supply, the EPA advised residents to not drink their water while the agency continues to investigate. Texas has not been immune to water contamination reports. Private water well contamination has been reported in Dish, Texas in addition to evidence of flammable water that was reported in Montague County.
The growing concerns over the potentially toxic effects of drilling have led the EPA to begin a review process of the environmental and health impact of drilling. The agency recently began holding hearings on gas drilling in four areas including Texas, where residents have shown up in force with reports of water contamination, polluted air and associated health problems.
Simple industry requirements such as including vapor recovery systems on storage tanks can help reduce toxic emissions but are not currently required or routinely installed even though they are cost effective for the industry. The fact that simple cost effective mechanisms like this can help mitigate risks and are not being employed supports the need for a Dallas task force to assess and review all environmental and health concerns and determine if and how they can be mitigated.
To help answer those questions, the task force panel should include experts from the following relevant fields: environmental science, environmental medicine and environmental ethics. We also call for the panel to include representatives from concerned citizen groups, which should be included in the task force selection process. As residents of Dallas, we deserve a voice in whether drilling is allowed in our neighborhoods as well as assurances that our water, air and health can and will be protected.
Thank you for your time and consideration.