Giving Compass' Take:
- Amal Ahmed and Haley Samsel discuss the rise in fracking in Texas and the lack of governmental accountability for this.
- How are low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately harmed by closer proximity to drilling sites?
- Learn about the public health hazards of fracking sites.
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This story is produced by Floodlight, a nonprofit news site that investigates climate issues.
When she saw the drilling rig go back up, Kim Feil started closing windows.
She didn’t want a repeat of 2013, when she experienced nosebleeds after natural gas drilling began at the site just a quarter mile from her home in Arlington, Texas, in the Barnett Shale. A 2019 study found people living between 500 and 2,000 feet of fracking sites have an elevated risk of nosebleeds, headaches, dizziness or other short-term health effects.
For five years after fracking surged in the late 2000s, Feil blogged almost every day and regularly attended council meetings. She warned neighbors of potential health effects, including studies finding higher risk of asthma attacks, from chemicals used during the drilling process. By 2014, as natural gas prices plummeted, fracking activity began to slow down.
Recently, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and gas prices skyrocketing, that economic equation changed again. Profits from natural gas drilling surged to new heights. The Railroad Commission of Texas, which oversees the oil and gas industry, reported the most active gas well permits in seven years.
This past summer, as the price of oil and gas hit historic highs, the city of Arlington quietly approved nearly a dozen permits for new gas wells near the homes of its residents without holding any public hearing, leaving Feil and other members of the community without a chance to comment or protest the activity.
That’s a change from earlier activity, when companies including Total Energies and XTO started fracking in the Barnett Shale, a geologic formation containing trillions of cubic feet of fossil fuels. The shale lies under the heavily populated Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, home to more than 7 million people. Drilling brought heavy industry and noise, air and water pollution to Arlington, an otherwise typical suburban city of 400,000 nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas.
Read the full article about fracking in Texas by Amal Ahmed and Haley Samsel at Grist.