I think I mentioned that the Texas Railroad Commission has appointed a Task Force for the Eagle Ford Shale.
Here is the Houston Record Chronicle’s take:
For those and other reasons we’re pleased to see the Texas Railroad Commission take a pro-active position in overseeing safe and responsible development of the area’s resources.
Commissioner David Porter has created an Eagle Ford Task Force to head off the kind of public backlash that has troubled the Barnett Shale area in North Texas.
Porter is on target with his diagnosis of what went wrong in North Texas: too little information about the development process, which has been near populated areas, and a perception that the energy companies doing the work were calling the shots while the Railroad Commission was largely AWOL or doing the minimum to direct the process to ensure that public and environmental interests were protected.
Here is the San Antonio Current’s take:
How does one shatter dense oil shale thousands of feet below the ground with a toxic slurry and suck up the oil and gas in an environmentally responsible manner? Is safe “fracking” even possible? Among those that aren’t so sure, count the EPA, France, and the states of New York, West Virginia, and Arkansas.
Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter set up an Eagle Ford Task Force last week, charged with … well … doing something. He announced the task force in the same breath as he blamed a contentious relationship with residents in North Texas’ Barnett Shale area on poor communications by the RRC and industry — as opposed to the appearance of arsenic, barium, selenium, and lead in drinking water in Dish, or Fort Worth-based Range Resources suing a family that brought complaints of water contamination to the EPA.
While the American Natural Gas Alliance lauded Porter for the “diversity of interests” present on the new panel, the Laredo-based Safe Fracking Coalition has slammed the body’s makeup, saying, “Commissioner Porter’s misguided decision to load the Eagle Ford Task Force with oil and gas company insiders and cheerleaders is unsettling from a public health and environmental standpoint.”
Que2 found 12 of the 22 members on the task force come straight out of the oilfield and oilfield services side of the equation, and two more members are economic development or jobs-training folks unlikely to challenge the allure of business the Eagle Ford has promised to ignite. After that, we’ve got a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rep (enough said?) and a mixed bag of politicos, (one of whom, with Facebook postings like “Repeal obamacare” and “Yes to natural gas,” doesn’t inspire confidence).
Only four members of the task force tout real environmental bona fides that may keep water and air cleanliness at the top of their to-do list.
It’s probably not safe for Porter to visit the Barnett Shale any time soon.