Friday, December 4, 2009

Air tests at natural gas drillings sites fuel concerns in Barnett Shale

By JEFF MOSIER / The Dallas Morning News

Anxiety about the risks of natural gas drilling has stayed mostly below the surface in North Texas.

Critics feared everything from polluted groundwater in the Barnett Shale to high-pressure gas lines beneath their front yards. Now the biggest concern – at least the one that governments are watching closely – is in the air.

Tests showing high concentrations of benzene and other toxic chemicals in air near drill sites and related facilities have brought a new focus on the natural gas industry and public health. Cities, counties and the state's environmental agency are anxiously awaiting an analysis of regional testing and any potential action that could follow.

"Everything is on the table," said Terry Clawson, spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. More>>>