Dr. Gene L. Theodori, Sam Houston State University, Department of Sociology conducted a survey of residents in Wise and Parker counties to see how they view exploration and production of natural gas in Wise County, Texas. The findings in the study don’t jive with the spin Scott used for his title on the Star-Telegram’s Barnett Shale
oil and gas propaganda and cheerleading Blog.
Here’s what I found when I read the entire Wise County survey:
Section III Attitudes Toward the Exploration and Production of Natural Gas in Wise County
QUESTION: The natural gas industry is important to the local economy.
Only about 11% disagreed with that statement.
My comment: One day the oil and gas industry will be through with Wise County and they will move on leaving all those employees jobless and living in a place with polluted air, soil and water. Wise County planners are foolish in failing to attract other industries to create some diversity in the job market.
QUESTION: Natural gas industry operators in this area are too politically powerful
About 70% agree with that statement.
QUESTION: Decisions about natural gas-related development should be made solely on economic grounds.
About 67% disagreed with that statement.
QUESTION: Not enough information concerning the development of natural gas is being made available to the general public.
About 78% agree with that statement.
My comment: Not only is there not enough information but much of the information is propaganda and outright lies.
QUESTION: Even when carefully controlled, natural gas development is likely to upset the quality of life in a local area.
About 70% agree that your quality of life will suffer because of drilling.
My comment: Most of the people in Wise County who own land and their mineral right, own a LOT of land and therefore get LOTS of royalty money. The drilling on their land has made them millionaires. If you are making millions, you can afford to have a home someplace else or travel when the drilling noise, lights and smells get too bad. You can afford elaborate water filtration systems and bottled water for all your needs. That won’t be so for Fort Worth residents who own a residential lot.
QUESTION: Too little attention is being paid to the social costs of natural gas development.
My comment: This seems to echo what many of us have been saying: The current drilling practices put human health at risk. The oil and gas industry needs to have more regulations.
Why shouldn’t oil and gas follow the same rules we have?
Why should they be exempt from the Clean Air Act?
Why should they be exempt from the Clean Water Act?
What’s wrong with being clean and safe?
QUESTION: The natural gas companies have no compassion for our natural environment.
About 57% agree
QUESTION: All in all, the benefits of natural gas development for this area are greater than the costs.
About 54% agree.
My comment: The tragedy is that the cost to human health has yet to be determined. It will take several more years before the studies showing the increase in deaths from cancer, especially in children.
The benefits versus cost question cannot yet be fully assessed and when it can be assessed it will be too late.
QUESTION: Decisions about natural gas development should be given to the effects on lifestyles and values of the people in this area.
About 85% agree.
QUESTION: Natural gas operators MUST adopt and use more environmentally friendly drilling practices.
My comment: Notice the use of the strong term, MUST, and how it is capitalized for emphasis in that question. This highlights the deceptiveness of Scott’s title. The title should be:
Citizens want protection from oil and gas environmental abuses. OR
Citizens cry out for protection from…
QUESTION: Natural gas companies will do only what’s required by law.
My comment: We want stronger regulation for the industry. Eliminate exemptions from following the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
QUESTION: In the long run, I’m sure that people in this area will be better off if our natural gas resources are developed.
My comment: It seems that Scott based his title purely on the response from this one question while ignoring all the rest. The results from this questions proves that people are capable of cognitive dissonance.
QUESTION: Natural gas operators are drilling and producing too close to homes and businesses.
My comment: Fort Worth should pay close attention to that response.
QUESTION: People who object to natural gas development in this area should move someplace else.
My comment: You see, they realize that we are the ones who will win a few battles in this war and thereby keep them a little bit safer.
QUESTION: How do you feel about the drilling of more GAS WELLS in Wise County?
Equally split between favor and opposed.
QUESTION: How do you feel about the drilling of more DISPOSAL WELLS in Wise County?
About 9% favor and 69% opposed with almost 45% being strongly opposed.
QUESTION: How do you feel about the drilling of WATER WELLS in Wise County to provide water for the natural gas industry?
Section IV: Potential Problems in Wise County
I highlighted just a few of the many questions from this section. What is most interesting is that on only one question was drilling seen as a plus for the community and that question was about jobs. On all the rest of the questions, drilling either made the problems in Wise County worse or made no improvement in the problem. The conclusions from this section conflict with Scott’s title.
- 77% say Increased Traffic from drilling activity is a problem
- 57% blame high taxes on increased drilling.
- 54% say drilling is depleting our aquifers.
- 62% believe they are using too much fresh water.
- 54% believe they are polluting our water.
Section V: Actions Which May or May Not Have Been Taken in Response to the Exploration and Production of Natural Gas in Wise County
QUESTION: Attended a meeting to get information and learn more about the drilling and production of natural gas
Only 17% of the respondents have made an effort to educate themselves. How sad.
The rest of the survey indicates that a small percentage will continue to seek education and better regulation. The others will go shopping and watch football. They do want the water cleaned up but they have little or no confidence that the industry will handle that safely.