Natural-Gas Sites Don't Have Air Problems: Regulators

Texas agency surveyed 126 production facilities in Fort Worth

By Scott Gordon
|  Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010  |  Updated 7:51 PM CDT
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Cowtown's Clean Bill of Health

AP

Air tests around facilities in Fort Worth did not reveal pollution problems, regulators say.

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Cowtown's Clean Bill of Health

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued it's findings on air samples taken at gas drilling sites in Fort Worth.
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Air tests around natural gas production facilities in Fort Worth found "no pollutants at levels that would be a cause for concern," Texas environmental regulators said Tuesday.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality revealed the results of the tests at a Fort Worth City Council meeting.

"Everything you hear today is good news," said John Sadlier, TCEQ"s deputy director of compliance and enforcement.

"No carcinogens were detected," including benzene, Sadlier said.

Benzene is a known carcinogen that has been detected elsewhere on the Barnett Shale. The TCEQ said air quality is suspect in some rural areas.

"There are single points out on the field that we are concerned about," Sadlier said. "We do not see those same issues here in Fort Worth."

The TCEQ said at least two other areas tested positive for potentially dangerous pollutants, but the commission would not identify where.

The air monitoring was done the week of Dec. 14. Three survey teams conducted samples around 126 natural gas production sites in Fort Worth.

"The air is clean, and we will continue to test to ensure that it stays that way," Sadlier said.

Mayor Mike Moncrief immediately applauded the results.

"We are certainly grateful that the tests revealed no immediate danger," Moncrief said. "However, we agree with TCEQ that the air in those areas affected by the Barnett Shale should be continually monitored for potential threats."

Some people say cold, windy days could alter the air samples' quality, diluting potential dangers.

NBCDFW's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.

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