Saturday, September 24, 2022

Towns need to act now to avoid environmental disaster

Mayor Sue Tejml of Copper Canyon has been a calm voice during the storm brewing in the Gasland known as Denton County. In the July issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette (“Commissioners Consider Gas Drilling Task Force”), the Mayor’s article serves to shed a little political light on the eventual environmental catastrophe that she and other local elected officials may have played some role in creating.

By recognizing that lines are being drawn in the shale and the residents of Denton County are not happy with the status-quo, the Mayor and Commissioner Eads propose to establish a “Task Force” to study the relationship between state, local and federal governments as it relates to the regulation of the gas drilling industry.

Was a similar action five years ago not warranted? What breach of public trust occurred to suddenly come to the realization that we may be all standing at ground zero and not realize it? I’m wondering if the impetus could be what is currently happening in the town of DISH?

Well meaning (no pun intended) as it appears, the Mayor never suggests that the public health is in immediate danger and that the gas companies need to cease plans for further expansion in densely populated southern Denton County.  She fails to recognize that this is a race against time and what has happened in the past will continue so long as no action is taken to hold the gas companies accountable.

Mayor Sue is level headed. I give her that.  By appearances, she’s literally trying to keep this subject from exploding in her backyard.

The local politicians are residents of the community too and they breathe the same air and drink the same water as we all do.  But I do not recognize any sense of urgency in the Mayor’s tone.

In the interest of public safety, we have laws mandating seat belts be worn by all occupants in our automobiles. There are laws that prohibit motorists from talking on cell phones while driving in a school zones. And the Feds issue product recalls when the inherent design of a product is so flawed that it poses a great danger to the user or operator.  However, when it comes to gas drilling, very few substantive legal provisions exist that protect the public from a widespread industry practice of injecting toxic chemicals into the ground and allowing the fluid to seep into our drinking water or requiring clean air technology in its compression stations and condensate tanks.

According to the Oil and Gas Accountability Project group: “Toxic chemicals in fracturing fluids include substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; methanol; formaldehyde; ethylene glycol; glycol ethers; hydrochloric acid; sodium hydroxide; and diesel fuel, which contains benzene, ethyl benzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene and other chemicals. These chemicals have known negative health effects such as respiratory, neurological and reproductive impacts, impacts on the central nervous system, and cancer.”

The Mayor needs to recognize that the public trust has been violated and our patience with politicians and drilling companies is over.

What has happened in Flower Mound needs to happen elsewhere in southern Denton County.  The residents and politicians of Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Double Oak, Lantana, Highland Village, Lewisville, Northlake, Roanoke, Haslet, The Colony, Southlake, Westlake, Frisco and Prosper, among others, all need to step up to the plate.

Now is not the time to calmly sit and wait for the next environmental disaster. You have the right to say NO!

William Evans
Double Oak

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