The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Gas drilling leaves noxious smell

Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington

With the rapid invasion of Barnett Shale wells and pipelines within the metroplex (1,500 well sites are planned within Loop 820 alone), it would be nice to know we could trust our government officials to be objective and act in the best interests of the people, but can we?

It is more than a little unnerving that the same people heading committees and granting permits for new well and pipeline construction are heavily financially vested with the oil and gas companies.

According to recent articles in The Star-Telegram and FW Weekly, Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief’s earnings disclosure statements show that he earned more than $1.2 million from his holdings in oil and gas companies between 2005 and 2006.

Looking at financial contributions from oil and gas interests in Texas reads like a virtual who’s who of local politics.

Governor Rick Perry received more than $3.6 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests between 2001 and 2006.

Texas Railroad Commissioner, Elizabeth Ames Jones, whose office provides oversight of the Barnett Shale industry, received $640,000 in 2006.

Attorney General Greg Abbott received $548,000 between 2005 and 2006.

Many Texas politicians including senators, house representatives and railroad executives are too close for comfort with the same industry they are supposed to be protecting us from.

Another concern is that the signing bonuses paid to the city for drilling underneath city-owned land are as much as 10 times higher than what most residents are being paid. Yet no steps have been taken to ensure that average citizens get fair prices for their leases.

Residents are finding it difficult to know who to trust and where to go for answers. Many have turned to the Barnett Shale Energy Educational Council, not realizing this information is entirely sponsored by the gas companies and may be a sugar-coated version of the truth.

No one is talking about the dangers associated with explosion.

In Palo Pinto County a gas pipeline exploded in 2005, leaving a crater 30 feet deep and 100 yards wide. Huge chunks of earth catapulted through the air and fires burned within a one-mile radius.

Imagine if this happened in a Fort Worth neighborhood or next to a school.

Gas leakage, a silent odorless killer, and radioactive materials created by the drilling process are of great concern—not to mention the environmental damage that may not be realized until much later.

It’s too late to stop the invasion, but it’s not too late to push for stricter regulations and accountability. The only way this will come about is if we stand up for what is right for our city, our people and our legacy. Let area officials know that we know what they are doing and we will not stand for the exploitation of our resources and communities for their own personal gain.

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