Residents Getting Uneasy over Drilling

Residents Getting Uneasy over Drilling



For many Denton residents, the goal of having clean air and clean water, as well as stable property values loom large as the city considers additional regulations on natural gas drilling and production.

A couple of residents have more definite goals, such as, tougher insurance requirements and rules that will reduce air pollution. They shared these goals and other ideas Thursday night at the initial meeting of a task force that will assist the City Council in rewriting the gas drilling ordinance of Denton.

Mindful of the drought, many voiced their concerns about the depletion of their water resources, as well as potential contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing. This practice, oftentimes referred to as fracking, involves the pumping of millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand underground with the goal of breaking up hard rock beneath the surface to free the trapped gas.

The method is right now being studied by the Environmental Protection Agency, whose preliminary findings are expected to be released late next year.

Sue Smith, a resident of Denton, in her testimony told the three-member citizen task force at the Denton Civic Center, “I like to breathe fresh air and I like to drink clean water. With fracking, I don’t think that’s possible.”

Fracking and horizontal drilling technology breakthroughs are being pointed out as the spark that ignited job demands and infused a lot of dollars to the economy of North Texas over the past ten years. At present, the Barnett Shale region has around 15, 269 gas wells spread over 23 counties. This is according to the Texas Railroad Commission, which is the state agency tasked to regulate the industry.

City leaders are being forced by the fracking issue to juggle the economic impact of the industry, the state and federal laws, and public pressure for more regulation.