Posts Tagged ‘earthworks’

This week marks the six month anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, a catastrophic storm that killed 88 people and caused about $125 billion in damages. Scientists have shown that Harvey’s strength was fueled in part by climate change.

Houston Mayor Turner has voiced concerns about climate change and pollution, recently through an op-ed published in the Huffington Post entitled “Cities Must Get Creative In The Fight Against Air Pollution.” In this piece, Turner says that cities must address the poor air quality that too often disproportionately impacts low-income communities. Specifically, he states that he will protest permits for new concrete batch plants. Turner also plans to address climate change through using renewable energy to power city operations and through electric vehicle adoption.

Yet, the city of Houston can do more. The Houston Climate Movement came together last year before Harvey because we know that Houston is at risk for the impacts of climate change. The Houston Climate Movement advocates for a community-wide climate action and adaptation plan.

In response to Turner’s op-ed, we penned this letter to him:


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This month Earthworks officially launched the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP),

a new citizens’ group that will work to ensure that Texas’ burgeoning Barnett shale gas industry operates while respecting the environment and the rights of its neighbors.

There have been, to say the (very) least, a myriad of concerns popping up in recent years related to gas drilling in the Barnett Shale, particularly with a process called hydraulic fracturing (fracking).  In a nutshell, fracking is when a fluid under very high pressrue is pushed down into a fracture in the rock to make the fracture bigger and release natural gas from the shale below. Problem is, what is in that fluid can be extremely toxic (read: cancer causing and then some) and its full contents are largely kept under wraps (take action!).  Area residents are also very concerned about the health and environmental impacts of emissions from the wells.

According to the press release,

The shale gas industry is exploding in the central Texas. In Fort Worth alone, more than 1,100 wells have been drilled within the city limits, and 100 new wells are being permitted every month. Over 9,000 wells have been drilled in surrounding counties — with 5,000 more already approved. Pipelines and wells are being located and drilled just a few feet from residences, sparking concerns by local residents for their health. Open spaces, such as the Tandy Hills, Greenbelt and other endangered, native prairie lands are turning into industrialized landscapes and drilling is encroaching upon Lake Worth, a critical drinking water supply for the city.

In addition to launching the organization, TXOGAP also released a report entitled, DRILL-RIGHT TEXAS: Best Oil & Gas Development Practices for Texas.

“DRILL-RIGHT TEXAS shows the drilling industry how to do it right: respect private property rights, clean water and clean air, wildlife, and public health,” said Sharon Wilson, the new Texas OGAP organizer. She continued, “I’m a 4th generation Texan who hoped to get rich selling gas leases. After witnessing first-hand the devastation wrought by current drilling practices, I know that unless DRILL RIGHT recommendations are followed, Texans and future Texans will be a whole lot poorer.”

For more information and updates from the ground, visit Bluedaze: Drilling Reform for Texas.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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