The Empresses New Clothes

Here in the North Texas, Land of Pretend, it has not taken long for the new Mayor of Dirty Ol' Town to embrace the folly of her predecessor, Mike (What conflict of interest?) Moncrief.

After receiving a much anticipated and widely criticized Air Quality Report from Eastern Research Group (ERG) Mayor Betsy (Strings-Attached) Price cheerfully declared:

"First, I'm pleased because, there are no immediate risks to public health."
-Mayor Betsy "Strings-attached" Price

Boy howdy, that's a ringing endorsement for our All America City but not unexpected from Moncrief's heir-apparent and Chesapeake's newest puppet. But what about next week, your Ladyship?

Tell that to Barnett Shale kids whose asthma rate has sky-rocketed.
Tell that to Barnett Shale women whose breast cancer rates are the highest in Texas.
Tell that to Barnett Shale residents whose lives are impacted daily by industrialization of their neighborhoods.
Tell that to FW residents who have seen up close the corruption at City Hall.

On the other hand, the following folks genuflected at the latest study:

---> Barnett Shale (Legalized-Mafia) gas drillers
---> The FW (Heads-in-the Sand-Looking-for-a-Handout) City Council
---> The FW Chamber of (Pollution=Money) Commerce
---> US Representative Kay (Meaner-version-of-Sarah-Palin) Granger
---> Ed (Still-Not-a-scientist) Ireland of the BSEEC and, of course,
---> Texas Governor Rick (I-Owe-My-Soul-To-El-Diablo) Perry

However, experts in the field of air quality and public health are nearly unanimous in their dissent of the air quality study, as you can read in Peter Gorman's well-researched report in the 9/14/11 issue of the FW Weekly.

Here's a Cliff Notes version of the highlights for all you busy people.

"... it could have been more comprehensive."
Jason Lamers, City of FW Public Information Officer

"... huge gaps in the way the study was conducted..."
Peter Gorman, FW Weekly reporter

"... the whole study was choreographed to get the result that former Mayor Mike Moncrief wanted..."
Gary Hogan, former Task Force member

"... researchers visited 375 well sites, they saw only one that was engaged in drilling. And only one where fracking was going on."
Eastern Research Group report

"... As a result, they didn't have enough information to draw conclusions abut emissions from either fracking or drilling."
from ERG report

"... they didn't actually include the high emissions rates they found at three (compressor stations)..."
from ERG report

"Nor did ERG's estimate of pollution levels take into account the emissions..."
ERG report

"... we do not have the clear-eyed answers that we need."
Jim Bradbury, attorney and Clean Air committee member

"... the methodologies and completeness were different than what we initially wanted."

"... report leaves major and potentially dangerous gaps in the knowledge about what local residents are breathing."
PG, quoting critics of ERG report

"ERG also chose not to investigate gas and toxic emissions that occur in dehydrators...."

"These are big omissions."
Ramon Alvarez, Environmental Defense Fund scientist and Clean Air committee member

"... the study did not consider the complete range of air pollutants that might be emitted from natural gas sites"
from ERG report

"Nor did the study take into consideration the problems known to be caused by combinations of the various chemicals... and this was not considered in the modeling analysis."

"You cannot conclude that this study is comprehensive."

"... several more issues would need to be addressed... facilities looked at by ERG did not necessarily represent what the people of Fort Worth are breathing..."
Melanie Sattler, Ph.D., P.E., Air Quality Consultant specialist

"ERG would have done better to actually measure compressor station emissions..."
Rick Trice, Assistant Director of City of Fort Worth Planning & Development

"... the ERG study measured individual chemicals but did not address the cumulative effect..."
Alisa Rich,Wolf Eagle Environmental, air specialist

"We remain ignorant of how to quantify or address this important issue."
Eduardo Olaguer, Director of Air Quality Research, Houston Advanced Research Center

"ERG didn't test far enough away from gas facilities to get a good reading on air pollution effects."

"ERG's definition of "fully built out" is highly misleading... In reality, drilling activity in Fort Worth may reach three times the current level."

"... ERG's results are very minimal..."

"... ERG considered only short term health issues..."

"What's going to happen when our 1600 gas wells becomes 4,000...?"
Don Young, FWCANDO

"... effects of gas industry-related air pollution on those groups (children, elderly, pregnant women, etc.) has never been adequately studied." We have guesstimates."
Larry Lowry, M.S., Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler, TX

"With gas drilling, people are breathing toxic soups..."
Neil Carmen, Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter

"First, I'm pleased because, there are no immediate risks to public health."
Mayor of Fort Worth, Betsy Price

"... a farce and a fraud and a waste of $1 million."
Jerry Lobdill, Fort Worth resident and retired physicist, referring to ERG study

"... at best a watered-down version of the way things are."
Esther McElfish, founder of NCTCA, referring to ERG study

"People are going to be exposed to theses emissions for a long time... this study does not answer the question of how that exposure will affect them."
Jim Bradbury