Thursday, April 3, 2008

Barnett Shale Explodes the North Texas Economy

Today I had to drive through the industrial wasteland of north Fort Worth to pick up a check for a website. En route I drove by at least a dozen gas drilling operations in various stages.

A few years ago it was discovered that a field of natural gassified shale was much larger than earlier believed. Seismic testing kept finding the stuff further and further south. At first the gas drilling only took place on the fringes of the Dallas/Fort Worth urban zone.

And then in 2003 an oilman named Mike Moncrief, with interests in all 4 of the gas drilling companies that are exploiting the Barnett Shale, was elected mayor of Fort Worth. Soon after the new mayor took office drilling started happening all over town, in formerly peaceful neighborhoods, in parks, near parks and across the street from where I live.

Experiencing it, up close and personal, the gas drilling operation was as bad as all the complaints I'd been reading. While the drilling is underway it is very noisy, making all sorts of odd high pitched noises, day and night. The rigs are lit up very bright. When the drilling is done the next bad thing starts up, that being dozens upon dozens of trucks hauling in water to pour down the hole to fracture the shale and release the gas. I've no idea how this works. But I do know there is a problem with the resulting polluted water. The powers that be are allowing the drillers to pump out the water and pump it into vast underground cavern like holes in the ground where some believe it will eventually contaminate the aquifers from which much of Texas gets its water.

As most people know, things are different in Texas. Like I've previously mentioned the perfectly valid concept of taking private land for the public good is perverted in Texas with our nation's worst cases of eminent domain abuse with the worst abuser being Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. And then you have the mayor of a big city, with obvious conflicts of interest, overseeing meetings where decisions are made in favor of the gas drillers.

Except for Fort Worth's valiant alternative newspaper, FW Weekly, no one seems to care that the Mayor of Fort Worth, with interests in each of the gas drilling companies, should not be making decisions regarding the drilling from which he financially benefits handsomely.

One good thing, a group of people in East Fort Worth have turned into Rabblerousers and are fighting the city with some success. Last week the aforementioned FW Weekly had a real good article about the group of activists. They were mostly moved to action due to Chesapeake Energy letting it be known they wanted to slant drill under Tandy Hills Park.

I have sort of been part of the Eastside Rabblerousers, doing my part to help rouse the rabble. The Rabblerousers have a real good website. On their website you can find the link to my contribution, that being a webpage I called "Fort Worth Flatulence". It gets a lot of page views.

One of the leaders of the Eastside Rabblerousers is a man named Don Young. He organized an event called Prairie Fest to raise awareness of Tandy Hills Park and the need to protect it. This year's Prairie Fest is in just a few weeks. If you are in the D/FW zone and want to attend, go to the Tandy Hills Park link above and you'll find all the info you need.

1 comment:

Shawn said...


Can we discuss some of these great Barnett Shale topics here?