From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
December 3, 2010
Contact: Janice McCoy
(512) 463-0124

Senator Fraser Announces Additional Monitoring in Barnett Shale

AUSTIN -- Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) is pleased to announce that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will install four new air quality monitors in the Barnett Shale region through a partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington. The new monitors are an important step in a comprehensive effort to address the concern of possible air pollution from gas drilling in the region.

In August, Senator Fraser, along with members of the Texas Legislature, directed the TCEQ to add an additional eight Auto GCs (for a total of 15 in the area) to monitor air quality in the Barnett Shale. These monitors operate around the clock, measuring levels of more than 45 volatile organic compounds, including benzene. The emissions data collected from these monitors is used to evaluate current air quality conditions in the region and posted online.

"I am encouraged that the Commission has been able to find the resources to put four of these air monitors in the region," said Fraser. "In order to know how to protect the public, we must have enough information to put the correct safeguards in place."

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Senator Fraser will participate in a stakeholder group to select the sites to locate the four monitors. The four final sites will be chosen from a list developed by TCEQ scientists. TCEQ also will set up a public participation process to hear from the local citizens on site selection.

"This preliminary agreement with UT Arlington is an important step in the process of putting these additional four air monitors in the Barnett Shale area," said TCEQ Executive Director Mark Vickery. "These monitors will help us ensure that ambient air quality across the Barnett Shale region is protective of the residents' health."

"I want us to have all the information we need to create the best environmental policies," said Fraser. "Today marks yet another step in the implementation process of protecting the people of Texas while preserving jobs and our economy in the region."

Senator Fraser represents a 21-county region in the geographic center of the state. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. He also sits on the following standing Senate Committees: Business and Commerce, Nominations, State Affairs, and International Relations and Trade.