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Air Quality Draws Attention

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Area towns and energy companies are reacting to recent air quality concerns related to natural gas drilling in Denton County.

Flower Mound officials met with representatives from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in December to request air quality testing on two natural gas compressor station facilities in town and explore the installation of a permanent air quality monitoring station.

The town has hired an engineering firm to establish a baseline for ambient air quality over the next 30 to 60 days and will continue to work with state and federal agencies in monitoring the situation, according to town spokesman Michael Ryan.

“The safety and health of our residents remains a top priority for our town staff,” said Ryan.

Officials from the town’s largest leaseholder, Tulsa, OK-based Williams Production, are watching the issue closely.

“We’ve been doing everything we can to work with the town and to demonstrate that our business is built on best practices. We are in compliance, and always have been, with the state and federal air regulations,” said Williams Production spokesman Kelly Swan.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Copper Canyon, Red Oak Gas is voluntarily installing natural gas monitors on each of their three gas well drilling sites and has retained an environmental firm to install infrared cameras and conduct independent emissions studies, according to company spokesperson Tyler Deines.

Red Oak is currently in full compliance with state mandated emission requirements, said Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml. “But the company realizes that emission standards are a “moving target”, as the TCEQ and the local branch of the federal Environmental Protection Agency may tighten their standards for air emissions in North Texas.”

The TCEQ is currently conducting air quality tests in gas drilling areas of Denton County to see if benzene and other toxic chemicals are at safe levels.  The results of the study are expected to be released by the end of this month. 

More information about air quality can be found on Flower Mound’s website at http://www.flower-mound.com/env_resources/env_resources_airquality.php.

 

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