Atmos Accused of Air Pollution From Gas Leaks

Company's own records document lost gas in new complaint

Atmos Energy is accused of violating clean air laws from gas leaks in a complaint filed Tuesday with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The complaint was filed by Ted Lyon an attorney for the family 12-year-old Linda Rogers, who was killed in a February 23 explosion at her Northwest Dallas home.

Atmos replaced the gas distribution system for 2,800 customers in her neighborhood after the explosion. The company blamed a rash of leaks in that area on a unique soil and weather conditions.

NBC 5 obtained records that show thousands of Dallas County gas leaks are reported each year in many locations. The company said it is increasing the rate of gas line replacement.

Lyon has already sued Atmos over the girl’s death.

“They have a system of not taking care of their lines,” Lyon said.

His new complaint used Atmos records supplied to the state that compare the amount of gas supplied to the company with the amount recorded at customer meters.

In the City of Dallas alone, the complaint said 5.6 billion cubic feet of gas was discharged into the atmosphere in the 7 year period between 2010 and 2016.  The rate of lost gas varied from a high of 4.42% in 2014 to just .54% in 2016.

“There is no permitting process that allows them to do this,” Lyon said. “They’ve just been doing this negligently, grossly negligently and in my opinion lawlessly. So now, we’re alerting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, who has jurisdiction over this.”

Lyon said there is no financial incentive to replace leaky gas lines because the company is allowed by law to recoup the cost of lost gas from suppliers.

“They get a credit if they have lost or unaccounted for gas,” Lyon said.

Atmos did not return messages for comment on the new complaint Tuesday.

A TCEQ representative said the agency would evaluate the complaint.

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