This is one part of natural gas that the industry never talks about. They don’t want you to know about it until it’s too late to stop.
Natural gas has to be processed through a refinery type facility before it can be used and those refinery type facilities are ending up in people’s backyards. But they aren’t called refineries so they are allowed to operate under a rubber stamp type permit.
Here is a reader submitted photo of a gas plant in Robertson County aka Booger County and the reader’s comment.
The fumes appear to be from the amine re-boilers which are using raw sour gas for fuel. Lots of emissions from short stacks, including SO2, and other SOX’s–also lots of VOX’s NOX’s, and H2S. Emissions include CO2 which gathers in low areas and lowers the oxygen content in the air.
Anyone who promotes “clean burning natural gas” needs to have one of these huffing, puffing, monsters near their home.
Welcome to Booger County, Texas
One of the more notorious natural gas refineries in the Barnett Shale is the one in Argyle/Bartonville only 100 feet from a family’s home and only a few more feet from several other homes.
This facility processes natural gas from Exxon’s XTO gas wells in the Argyle/Bartonville area. The home in the photo above was devalued after this facility went in from $361,000 on the 2009 tax rolls to $95,000 on the 2010 tax rolls. So we understand Rex Tillerson’s concerns about damage to his property value from a water tower that partially serves as infrastructure to support fracking in the area.
Unlike the water tower that concerns Tillerson, these natural gas refinery types of infrastructure can actually make people sick from the emissions and releases of toxic gases and might cause them to evacuate their homes, even in the middle of the night.
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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Alberta Neighbor says
It looks to me like there’s a lack of shrubbery.
Maybe they could take a page from L.A.’s book and “camouflage” the sites with shrubs.
Although more pleasing to the eye, seems they don’t do much to control all the toxics wafting about.
“This is the AllenCo oil extraction site, where unfortunately, pretty green walls are said to have not stopped poisonous fumes from wafting over into nearby homes and schools.
Four years ago, oil production at the site, which is just a few blocks north of the University of Southern California, suddenly increased by 400 percent. The extraction method suspected to have worked this magic is acidization — a dangerous process which uses hydrofluoric acid to dissolve rock formations, thereby increasing oil flow. (Yes, that’s the same stuff they melt bodies with on ‘Breaking Bad’ and is considered one of the most toxic industrial chemicals in the world.)
The production increase was accompanied by hundreds of complaints to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) from surrounding residents about foul odors and health effects, including constant nosebleeds, asthma, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. But the complaints were dismissed and ignored.
‘We have been pretty much the canaries in the coalmine. Our community has been very badly treated,” says Nancy Ibrahim, director of Esperanza Community Housing, which owns a building across the street from the site, and helped mobilize the area. “We were wasting our time with the AQMD — my feeling is they’ve just been an obfuscating agency,” she said. “So we just had to move on to bigger fish.’
That bigger fish was Senator Barbara Boxer, who arrived for a dramatic press conference and called on AllenCo to shut down the site. She brought in the EPA, whose investigators were overcome by the noxious fumes themselves during their inspection.
Suddenly those hundreds of complaints were heard loud and clear. On January 15, the EPA found that Allenco was in violation of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer also filed suit against AllenCo in January. ‘No community should have to live this way, with windows shut, children kept indoors to protect their health, and neighbors seeking relief from intolerable conditions,’ he said.
… Whoops! More toxic neighbors hiding behind pretty green shrubs.
But the people next door are getting wise — and getting loud. These two oil sites have been the subject of a new community organizing effort. (Both are owned by Freeport MacMoRan, who also run the Inglewood oilfield)
… ‘They are working at a breakneck pace to extract as much oil as they can before real regulations clamp down on their ability to do a free-for-all,’ said Kim.
Let’s zoom in on one particularly alarming case — six acidizations were done recently right underneath the Beverly Center, which is across the street from Cedars-Sinai hospital. Talk about a potential public safety hazard and a vulnerable population. Care for some hydrofluoric acid exposure with your cancer treatment? (According to the CDC, some of the effects of hydroflouric acid exposure include chronic lung disease, blindness, and death.)”
As the L.A. City Attorney stated, “No community should have to live this way,” and fortunately for the Tillersons and their neighbours, their new “good neighbor” water tower shouldn’t be spewing out toxic chemicals anytime soon.
But to alleviate the “emotional harm,” and resurrect their property values, I would suggest they have that “good neighbor” painted – to look like a giant shrub. Problem solved.
Shrubbery would help because as my friend Runner Susan said: It’s the ugly that give you cancer.
Alberta Neighbor says
Words to “live by.”
That CO2 can and does lower the oxygen (O2) content in our air. This produced natural gas has (typically) some 1% to 15% CO2 in it and it is removed as part of the acid gas stream, and dumped into the air. In Tx. the TCEQ does not concern it self with O2 or CO2 in our air. Sickness and even death can occur from this low oxygen situation. Can you believe that—the GasHoles can harm and even kill residents and the “regulator” says all is OK with them! Not to mention all the other toxins emitted, including H2S.
That happened at the Parr’s and Ruggiero’s.
Also, residents should know that many of these natural gas fields produce a bunch of mercury (and/or mercury compounds) with the gas stream. The GasHoles must remove the mercury because it is corrosive to many metals. They often remove it at the well sites and spew it into the air or include it in water dumping operation. It’s recognized that mercury is prevelant in gas produced near coal producing areas. A bunch of lignite/coal is mined in Booger County.