After taking a few weeks off, the city's Gas Drilling Task Force reconvenes at City Hall at 2 today; lucky Leslie will recap by day's end. Should be an interesting one: After weeks of tours and overviews and regulation reviews and a public hearing, today the industry will make its case for why the city should allow XTO and Trinity East Energy to drill, baby, drill at Hensley Field and L.B. Houston, respectively.
Per the agenda for today's meeting, reps from the Encana Oil & Gas and Chesapeake Energy will speak about the benefits of gas drilling; alas, no Tommy Lee Jones, just John Keil and Brian Boerner, the latter of whom will give this presentation that says, in summary, "Numerous Barnett air quality studies suggest there is no cause for immediate concern in DFW area." Dallas Cothrum, a frequent visitor to Dallas City Hall, will also walk the task force through this PowerPoint, which shows much heavy industry, including Luminant power plants, planted next to residential.
Also scheduled to speak: Barnett Shale Energy Education Council's Ed Ireland, who'd initially applied to get on the task force and about whom task force chair Lois Finkelman said in June: "He was smart, bright, intelligent. He did admit some of the problems in the industry. He was pretty open about that." That said, his presentation, which you can sneak peek here, is problem-free. In fact, it insists that study after study has shown that natural gas is the "cleanest fossil fuel" out there, has created "over 100,000 direct jobs in North Texas," doesn't foul up the air at all and that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality "is over-estimating VOC because their models do not recognize the industry's best practices of using low-bleed pneumatic valves and vapor recovery units where operationally appropriate." So there.
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Neighborhood groups and environmental groups will get their chance to rebut those claims next week.