Sara Story, Denton Reporter
Denton County residents try to find a balance between their quality of life and the effects of gas drilling.
The city of Denton is keeping a close eye on natural gas well drilling and is ready to tighten up the rules.
A gas drilling task force has been formed to overhaul the current gas drilling and production ordinance. It will work to find balance between an industry that brings business and money to the area and the quality of life of Denton residents.
Vicki Oppenheim, a resident on the task force, said air quality is one of its top concerns.
"Of course, there are other forms of pollution, but gas drilling is something that happens right here in Denton and is something we can have control over in terms of what happens in our community," she said.
John Siegmund, another member of the task force, spent most of his career working for the oil and gas industry. He said he recognizes that drilling can have a negative impact on air quality.
"If it escapes, it is a pollutant. There is not question about that," Siegmund said.
But he said it is not a major source of pollution as long as companies follow regulations.
"If the gas wells are grilled according to best practices, the gas wells will not be a major source of pollution," Siegmund said. "We had bad air here before there were gas wells."
Oppenheim said she has watched closely as gas wells popped up in her community.
"When I first moved here, there were virtually no gas wells that I was aware of. Now, there are 257 gas wells in the city limits, and of course, there are a couple of thousand in Denton County," she said.
The City Council will have the final say on any new regulations.