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Texas Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter State Capitol E-Report
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July 29, 2010:

  • EPA Public Meeting on Oil & Gas Regulation
    Opportunity for Texans to Demand Tough Air Quality Standards to Regulate Air Pollution from Oil & Gas Industries
    Ramped up oil and gas drilling has outgrown the regulations meant to protect clean air, public health, and the environment, spurring hundreds of concerned local residents to attend public meetings next week to call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt tougher regulations. Only two public meetings are being held, but one of them is in Texas – in Arlington on August 2 (the other is in Denver on August 3).

    Both meetings are split into daytime and nighttime meetings to maximize the ability of citizens to attend. The Arlington meetings (to be held from noon to 4 PM and from 6 to 10 PM in the Council Chamber of the Arlington Municipal Building, 101 W. Abram Street, 76010) is a great opportunity for Texans to demand tough air quality standards to regulate air pollution from the oil and gas industries. For more information on the public meetings, visit http://sc.org/airmeetings. To sign up for the daytime or nighttime meeting in Arlington: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageNavigator/20100802_TX_Oil_Gas_Hearing.

    "The EPA must do a better job in regulating air emissions from oil and gas drilling operations," said Jen Powis, Sierra Club Senior Regional Representative for Texas. "From coast to coast, drilling regulations need to be stronger and better enforced and loopholes for these industries should be closed. The EPA has the responsibility to protect our health, our water and our air but can only do so by adequately regulating emissions from natural gas and oil production."

    Natural gas is a significant contributor to air quality emissions—like nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (both ozone precursors) and greenhouse gases—at the drilling, well operation, compression, and pipeline transportation phases.

    "Proper regulation can prevent the kind of damage in other communities that we are experiencing here in the Barnett Shale areas of North Texas," said Sharon Wilson with EARTHWORKS Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project. "To protect public health anywhere gas companies are operating, we want the operations to use the best available controls. Air pollution happens at every stage of the natural gas process, and the industry must control emissions so our air is safe to breathe." "Officials need to do baseline and follow-up testing before starting any exploratory drilling activity, and landowners should not have to pay for that," said Esther McElfish, President of (NCTCA) North Central Texas Communities Alliance.

    The EPA has committed to completing a comprehensive update of federal air quality regulations for oil and gas drilling operations. Under a settlement agreement with WildEarth Guardians and San Juan Citizens Alliance, EPA has to propose updated rules by January 31, 2011 and will finalize those rules by November 30, 2011.
  • The State Capitol E-Report is a monthly electronic update from the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club reporting on Texas environmental policy issues of statewide interest. Contact us at: lonestar.chapter@sierraclub.org ...Header photo copyright Susan Heller
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