From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2010
Contact: Janice McCoy
(512) 463-0124

State Officials Announce Additional Monitoring in Barnett Shale

FORT WORTH — Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) and Representative Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) along with other members of the Texas Legislature and Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief announced that the state will increase the air quality monitoring network in the Barnett Shale region.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) currently has seven automated gas chromatograph (AutoGC) monitors in operation in the Barnett Shale region. 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.

Members of the Texas Legislature have 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. They further directed the TCEQ to contract with a third-party to assist in the evaluation of the data.

"The Barnett Shale has been a great economic benefit for Texas and especially the Fort Worth region," said Fraser. "However, with growth there are growing pains. In order to know how to protect the public, we must have enough information to put the correct safeguards in place."

Cook remarked, "The additional air monitors will offer Texans greater transparency about the air quality in the Barnett Shale region because more scientific data will be available to the public, in real time, via the TCEQ's website."

"We continue to work closely with its state partners to find solutions to the challenges associated with the production of natural gas in and around our communities," said Mayor Moncrief. "With respect to the impact on our air quality, there are still too many unanswered questions. These additional monitors will only add to our understanding of this important issue and how it affects our residents. The people of Fort Worth appreciate the actions by Sen. Fraser, Rep. Cook and others who helped move this initiative forward."

"As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, I want us to have all the information we need to create the best environmental policies," said Fraser. "We can make positive changes without over burdening our residents and businesses financially."

"The additional monitors will help businesses to quickly identify and address pollution sources, which will lead to improved air quality in the D/FW area," Cook stated. "As chairman of the House Committee on Environmental Regulation, my goal is to ensure citizens' public health is protected without causing a financial hardship for the employees and families who depend on jobs from Texas' energy sector."

SEN. TROY FRASER represents Senate District 24. He is Chairman of the Senate Committee Natural Resources.

REP. BYRON COOK represents House District 8. He is Chairman of the House Committee on Environmental Regulation.