I am still trying to process what I saw and heard last night at Denton’s City Council meeting (minutes and video). The gory details are summed up in the Denton Record Chronicle.
Fracking dispute erupts at City Hall
Residents take to podium again to call for end to gas drilling
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
19 November 2013 11:49 PM
I’m going to sum up the meeting from the senses.
All women have a perception much more developed than men. So all women somehow, being repressed for so many millennia, they ended up by developing this sixth sense and contemplation and love. And this is something that we have a hard time to accept as part of our society.
About eight Denton residents gave citizen reports focused on drilling and impacts in Denton, particularly as they relate to the EagleRidge activities in the Vintage Neighborhood. I took video of most of the reports but the volume is a little low. Looking through the camera gave me a close up of the expressions on council members as they listened to the residents. The expressions ranged from disinterest to boredom. I had to check that by holding the camera as still as possible and viewing the council outside the lens. Nothing changed. After the meeting, I checked my perception and found I was not alone.
After the citizen reports ended I walked out because I knew the industry was gathered in the lobby watching the reports on the TV. I wanted to speak with Mark Grawe, Chief Operating Officer at EagleRidge Energy. Since he has inside knowledge about who is on the Homeland Security Watch List, I thought I would ask if it includes my name. But the industry had already cleared out.
As I stood in the lobby watching the council on the TV, I saw them laughing and joking. Right after hearing from mothers, fathers, teachers, professors and a pregnant mother about the health impacts they have experienced so far and their fears about what was ahead, the council seem unaffected. Later in the meeting, they show concern over impacts from a train in another neighborhood.
My brain is still trying to process what I saw. This morning, lying in bed and sipping my coffee while reading email, I think I figured it out.
Frame of Reference
“Accustom yourself not to be disregarding of what someone else has to say: as far as possible enter into the mind of the speaker.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
As far as I can tell, no one on council lives near an oil or gas well. I’ve heard some say they grew up near wells or their granddaddy or… But shale oil & gas wells are nothing like the wells of the past.
Describing life in the gas patch to someone who has no direct experience of the gas patch is like trying to describe childbirth.
My first son was delivered via C-section. I remember my mother’s impatience with my recovery only a week after surgery. Years later, when she experience her own major surgery, she apologized. It was the first and only time she ever apologized for anything.
Direct experience has a way of informing your frame of reference. Unless the council members–every one of them–spends some time inhaling vapors, getting a headache and experiencing the fear from heart palpitations, it’s likely that they will continue as one speaker put it. “being confused. Or too scared to enforce the ordinance.”
New information is coming. It’s not like we need more information about the harm to health because there is already plenty. But this is about the harm to the fetus so it’s a pro life thing now.
The impacts of oil and gas extraction on infant health in Colorado
Abstract: “Exploiting both the inter-temporal and cross-sectional variance in the presence of oil and gas extraction in Colorado, I find that proximity to wells reduces birth weight and gestation length on average and increases the prevalence of low birth weight and premature birth.”
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Kim Feil says
In Texas, a single frac uses about 36,290 gl of diesel, so just the surface equipment spewing carcinogens in our airshed…in the neighborhoods is a concern. Cities do not allow 18 wheelers to drive, park or idle in neighborhoods ….but the frack trucks get a free pass…yeah a pass to our lungs and then WE pay the cost….no wonder healthcare for Texans are being priced outrageously…we frack near people and then expect them to pay the medical bills.
Supposedly, they can only use diesel with a permit from EPA.
Jana DeGrand (@janadegrand) says
And this will also sound redundant, but I have also heard it from so many other people. They just did not get it until it landed in their back yard, literally in their back yard. I sat in my computer chair late one night a few days ago while helping a neighbor fax a few items. We were discussing her child’s asthma attacks, and how the school in Argyle will not let the children go out on certain days. I looked up the school’s address and plugged it into the public GIS viewer on the Texas Railroad Commission web site and zoomed in on the school at 800 Eagle Drive. I then panned out to show her the well sites around the school, and then I panned west to show her the density of wells in the Barnett Shale. Her eyes grew wide, and she shook her head, and she finally understood.