After a county judge wrote to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality complaining of a lack of attention to air pollution in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale play, the agency has promised to install a new monitoring site in Karnes County.
The response from Chairman Bryan Shaw to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff’s Sept. 2 letter contradicts earlier statements from TCEQ that it wouldn’t be bringing more monitors to the region.
“In response to rapid development of the Eagle Ford Shale area, TCEQ began plans to install additional fixed-site volatile organic compound monitors to help address questions about air emissions and air quality in the region,” Shaw wrote Thursday.
Wolff’s letter referenced a San Antonio Express-News investigation that said gas flares yielded more air pollution than Corpus Christi’s six oil refineries together.
Shaw also took the opportunity to address last year’s statement by TCEQ toxicologist Michael Honeycutt that complaints from the Eagle Ford are a lower priority than those from the Barnett Shale in North Texas. Honeycutt was referring just to odor complaints, he said.
Shaw added that issues in the Eagle Ford have been largely “sporadic and localized in nature” due to mechanical or operator error (John Tedesco, Houston Chronicle, Sept. 29). — AI