Senator Davis response to Mel LeBlanc’s “guest editorial” in the BSEEC newsletter:
For the benefit of your readers, I am writing to correct a number of falsehoods in the June 28 guest editorial by Arlington Councilmember Mel LeBlanc. His misstatements include the following:
1. I have never called for a moratorium on gas drilling. In fact, I support responsible drilling and have said so repeatedly.
2. I did not “request the rejection of a drilling case” in Arlington. A letter to Mayor Cluck asked for a two- to three-week delay on the matter while TCEQ completed air quality tests in the area.
3. TCEQ’s release of Fort Worth air quality testing data was not “alleged mishandling.” TCEQ’s Executive Director Mark Vickery admitted that the agency should have done a better job of keeping the general public informed. TCEQ had previously advised that the air quality in the Fort Worth portions of the Barnett Shale was safe. Subsequently, it was discovered that internal information revealed elevated levels of benzene. Here is the timeline:
- TCEQ tested air samples in Fort Worth on Dec. 15-17, 2009.
- On Jan. 12, 2010, TCEQ’s John Sadlier told the Fort Worth City Council in a public meeting that “based on this study, the air is safe.”
- On Jan. 13, TCEQ sent the December test samples to its lab and on Jan. 22 those lab tests revealed that the field testing from the December samples did show elevated levels of benzene, which differed from the results presented on Jan. 12 to the public (http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/assets/public/implementation/barnett_shale/healthEffects/2010.04.26-healthEffectsMemo.pdf).
- On Feb. 3, an internal fraud complaint was filed suggesting TCEQ’s “information given to upper management and subsequently presented to the public was inaccurate and misleading” (http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/agency-of-destruction/item/download/63).
- I met with high-level staff (including once with a TCEQ commissioner) in January, February and March 2010 to discuss my constituents’ concerns about their health and safety, to encourage the agency to gather an inventory of gas equipment in the Barnett Shale, and to discuss additional air monitoring in the region. I issued a press release on March 12 detailing progress on these issues (http://www.davis.senate.state.tx.us/pr10/p031210a.pdf).
- On May 13, I met with members of the gas industry to discuss public policy issues related to drilling, affirming that I support responsible gas drilling.
- On May 26, Forrest Wilder, a journalist with the Texas Observer, broke the story of the fraud complaint filed with the TCEQ by a concerned individual, bringing to light that inaccurate test results were represented to the Fort Worth City Council on Jan. 12 (http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/agency-of-destruction). After the story broke, Mark Vickery, the TCEQ’s Executive Director, called me on May 26 to inform me, for the first time, of the same.
- Even though TCEQ became aware of data that made their initial statement to the Fort Worth City Council inaccurate, the agency failed to correct their earlier inaccurate statement – both to the public and me – for four months.
4. Anthony Spangler, a member of my Senate staff, did not introduce himself at a recent TCEQ air quality meeting as my Chief of Staff; rather, he introduced himself as the Communications Director for my office. (See the video starting at the 4:52 mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKKsfhS7uL8.)
5. Mr. Spangler did not “ignore public manners” by speaking for 8 minutes. A recording of the hearing provided by TCEQ and available on YouTube, shows that the remarks he gave – on behalf of a district encompassing more than 700,000 people – lasted 3:52 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKKsfhS7uL8).
6. My statement at this hearing did not call for the establishment of an “Oil & Gas fund” or any fund whatsoever (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKKsfhS7uL8).
Natural gas production is vital to our economic, environmental, and national security interests. As drilling is conducted in close proximity to people, care must be taken to preserve our community’s quality of life, health and safety. This has been my stated position in the past, and it remains my position today.
Councilmember LeBlanc knows this, as I spoke at length with him about these issues during a private meeting I held with him at my district office on April 14. I’m not sure why Councilmember LeBlanc wanted to distort my record, but I wanted to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
State Senator Wendy Davis represents District 10 in Tarrant County.
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.
- Web |
- More Posts(5116)
Mellany Lamb says
Senator Davis, thank you for being forthright and honest and letting all those that twisted your words and the facts know that you will rebutt their false commentary and statements.
Don Young says
If only Wendy would call for a moratorium my respect for her would go way up. She may support responsible drilling but that means absolutely nothing under the present circumstances. Lon Burnam, by contrast, also supports responsible drilling but has demonstrated bold leadership by calling for a moratorium. Wendy's employment at oil and gas law firm, Cantey-Hangar, might be a factor in her decision-making. In godforsaken Texas we need politicians who will stand on their hind legs, not sit on the fence.
Wendy Davis is THE reason TCEQ is taking a comprehensive inventory of all equipment in the Barnett Shale. She is THE reason the TCEQ is looking at the PBR.
Brown Bess says
Did Senator Davis write this for the BSEEC newsletter itself?
It is my understanding that she wrote it for the BSEEC in response to LeBlanc's hit piece. I don't know if the BSEEC actually printed it. They certainly didn't send it out in an email blast like they did Leblank's piece.
Tim Ruggiero says
Wendy Davis is not without her faults- I wish she would call for a moratorium. I also wish she would publicly put LeBlanc in his place and demand a public apology, and have a little chat with Ed Non-Scientist Ireland about what he needs to update his cute little website with.