Yesterday, EARTHWORKS launched the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project a new watchdog to keep an eye on the drilling industry in the Barnett Shale of north central Texas.Texas OGAP also released DRILL RIGHT TEXAS, a guide to gas extraction best practices.
Like its cousin, the Marcellus Shale gas play that underlies most of the north central Appalachian Mountains including New York and Pennsylvania, the Barnett Shale contains vast reserves of natural gas that recently became economic to extract.
The reason it's now economic: a relatively new drilling technique called horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
You may have heard that natural gas is better for the environment than other fossil fuels. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, that is true certainly when compared to coal. But and it's a big but when it comes to local impacts, natural gas extraction/processing/transport as currently practiced is not something you'd wish on your worst enemy, or their drinking water.
However, unlike most coal mines, natural gas wells can and are drilled where people live, on their property and often without their consent.
In Fort Worth alone, more than 1,100 wells have been drilled within the city limits, and 100 new wells are being permitted every month. Over 9,000 wells have been drilled in surrounding counties — with 5,000 more already approved. Pipelines and wells are being located and drilled just a few feet from residences, sparking concerns by local residents for their health.
And that's why where drilling occurs, it needs to occur responsibly as it all too often doesn't as of now. Created by and for Texans, Texas OGAP by watchdogging industry and government, and by showing the way forward with DRILL RIGHT TEXAS — will work to push drillers and regulators in the right direction.
For More Information:
- DRILL RIGHT TEXAS: Best Oil & Gas Development Practices for Texas
- Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project
- Press release announcing Texas OGAP launch
- Bluedaze: Drilling Reform for Texas — Blog of Sharon Wilson, the Texas OGAP organizer.
- Leaders call for regulatory reform in the oil and gas industry, Denton-Record Chronicle, 2/25/2010