Dennis M. Welch: The Texas tour

November 11, 2012 

The Texas tour

Your Oct. 18 article “Six N.C. lawmakers take Texas fracking tour” should raise questions and concerns. Why did the legislators visit a state with one of the worst records for accidents, pollution and costs associated with fracking? Did they learn, for example, that Texas’ Department of Transportation estimates $2 billion annually in road repairs due to heavy trucks and machinery needed for fracking?

Rep. Kelly Alexander Jr. is pleased sound barriers can be used to muffle drilling noise. But with fracking there are far more serious threats such as irreparable ground and water pollution, especially in North Carolina where the distance between shale-gas formations and groundwater is too small.

Rep. Jamie Boles Jr. is reassured after a demonstration about well integrity. But does he know he probably saw an example of industry “best practice,” which is often not followed at well sites? Do the lawmakers know hundreds of industry emails and internal documents show that to attract investors the reserves and yields of shale-gas have been greatly exaggerated? Did they learn that Texas’ Barnett Shale, which was touted to be an economic engine for the next 40 to 50 years, is already in decline?

So much for “legislative tours.”

Dennis M. Welch

Cary

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