Gas Drilling Pop Quiz (for High-schoolers and their teachers)

In the summer of 2010 the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) held a special Math/Science program for gifted and talented middle school students, something called the Emerging Scholars Academy. One of the topics available for study was titled:

- To Drill or Not to Drill -

Project Requirements:

1) Answer the question: To Drill or Not to Drill.
2) Scientific evidence to support your answer from at least five sources.
3) Pros and cons of drilling that include economic and environmental impacts.
4) How will your stand help the U.S.
5) If you say "No" to drilling, what is the solution to our energy needs?
6) If you say "Yes" to drilling should there be areas that are off-limits? If so, where? Should there be restrictions and guidelines? If so, what are they?

Speakers and field trips included:

-Field trip to the Energy Blast exhibit at the FW Museum of Science and History
-Researched various websites, (including FWCanDo)
-Classroom visit from Don Young (FWCanDo)
-Classroom visit from a Multi Chem rep. (supplier of toxic chemicals used in all phases of O&G production)
-Classroom visit from a Seely Oil Co. rep (old Fort Worth O&G company)
-Classroom visit from Ken Morgan, Dir. of the T.C.U. Energy Institute

Science teacher, Michelle Hard, asked me to present my POV to the class and answer questions from the students. She wanted the students to hear directly from someone on the "not to drill" side. She confessed to me, up-front, that the students were leaning my direction.

I gratefully accepted the opportunity, explaining to the 12 -14 year olds why I became involved in the issues and how they affect me personally. I also screened a short video by TXsharon, passed out copies of Drill Right in Texas and gave them a Gas Drilling Pop Quiz designed to make them think. (see below)

The questions from the students were all thoughtful and intelligent. I felt confident that I had made a solid case for "not to drill". Unfortunately, the industry reps came on AFTER me. In the end, six out of eight students chose "to drill."

One has to respect the process and give the kids credit and responsibility for their decisions. Nevertheless, I'm still haunted by the last question asked of me by a fresh-faced boy of about 13 who had voted "to drill". He looked me in the eye and asked sincerely,

"What can we do to protect our neighborhoods?"

What lesson did I learn? Always make your presentation AFTER the drilling fanatics.


Gas Drilling Pop Quiz

1. What major US city currently has a ban on gas drilling in its watershed?
2. What major US city has banned gas drilling due to concerns over threats to its water supply?
3. Name three north Texas towns that currently have a moratorium on new gas drilling operations?
4. Where was the first major explosion in the Barnett Shale, when did it happen and how many acres were burned?
5. Name the neighborhoods in FW where gas drilling is NOT allowed.
6. How many millions of dollars have gas-drilling companies spent on advertising in Fort Worth?
7. What is the only industry exempt from federal laws intended to protect human health and the environment? The exemptions include the Safe Drinking Water Act; Clean Water Act; Clean Air Act.
8. What industry in a small Wyoming town caused air pollution similar to Los Angeles, CA?
9. Which Texas city had the dirtiest air in 2009?
10. What region of Texas has the highest rate of asthma for kids?
11. What region of Texas leads the state in Breast Cancer and Infant Mortality?
12. How many cows died in 2009 after drinking spilled fracking fluid next to a Chesapeake Energy gas well in Louisiana?
13. What percentage of fracking fluid is water?
14. How many chemicals are in fracking fluid?
15. How much money did the mayor of Fort Worth report earning from his O&G investments in 2009?
16. If gas drilling is safe to human health and the environment why is the O&G industry exempt from the Clean Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act?
17. Name five financial donors to the new FW Museum of Science & History building.
18. According to a study by, Dr. Al Armendariz, which industry produces as much air pollution in the Barnett Shale region as all the cars, trucks and airplanes in the entire Metroplex?
19. Which industry donated the most money to the election campaigns of Texas Railroad Commission officials?
20. Name the award-winning, documentary film that the gas industry has attacked but independent experts endorse.

Extra Credit:

1. What is a buzzworm?
2. Which of the following is not allowed within 1,000’ of a residence, church or school in the City of Fort Worth?
a. Gentlemen’s Club
b. Gas Well


1. (Answer: NY City)
2. (Answer: Pittsburgh, PA)
3. (Answer: Flower Mound, Corinth and DISH)
4. (Answer: Palo Pinto, TX in Dec. 2005, 1 sq. mile)
5. Answer: (Drilling is allowed in ALL neighborhoods, according to city ordinance.)
6. (Answer: Untold millions in billboards, bus-wraps, newspaper ads, radio-TV, etc.)
7. (Answer: O&G industry)
8. (Answer: O&G industry)
9. (Answer: Fort Worth, according to the TCEQ)
10. (Answer: Barnett Shale region)
11. (Answer: Barnett Shale region)
12. (Answer: 17)
13. (Answer: 99%, according to industry)
14. (Answer: More than 600, according to New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation)
15. (Answer: Over $600,000. according to latest figures released.)
16. (Answer: They must know something we don’t.)
17. (Answer: XTO Energy; Encana O&G; Devon Energy; Enron O&G; Exxon-Mobil)
18. (Answer: O&G industry)
19. (Answer: O&G Industry)
20. (Answer: GASLAND)


1. (Answer: Another name for a rattlesnake or a gas well)
2. (Answer: Gentlemen’s Club)