Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Snapshots

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, December 5, 2008 10:00 pm

Who: Lap and Yee Wong, of Lodi; Yau and Yuk Kong, of Stockton.

The Trip: A trip to appreciate the sophistication of the Canadian Rockies.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login now

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 20 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 20 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription at this time and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information. If you need help, please contact our office at 209-369-2761. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login now

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Video

Popular Stories

Send Us Your Snapshots!

The first air monitor in the heart of the fracking-intensive Eagle Ford Shale region of south Texas has been installed and will be in operation following calibration tests to assess its accuracy.

The 40-foot-by-40-foot monitor that looks like a cargo trailer with antennas was set in place on the grounds of the Karnes County courthouse on the main street of Karnes City last month by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Placing the air monitor in Karnes County follows a recent air quality study that tracked hydrocarbon emissions on the fringe of the region, pressure from local officials, news reports and residents worried about the air they breathe.

Yet even when the monitor begins producing air quality data, that information may not spark official concern because Texas adheres to air quality guidelines that permit exposure to higher amounts of some chemicals than other states.

The monitor was supposed to be up and running by the end of October, but locating the monitor on the spot initially proposed would have ruined the view of the picturesque 90-year-old courthouse, so the Texas Historical Commission asked for a new location.

Until the oil-and-gas boom brought hundreds of wells, thousands of 18-wheel big rigs and a skyline dotted with flares to burn off unwanted gas, Karnes County was largely a rural area dominated by open prairie and sprawling ranches.

The $122,000 monitor, which was relocated to a less-intrusive site on the courthouse grounds, will have three instruments to measure for specific pollutants. All three pull in ambient air samples at least once every hour for analysis of 46 volatile organic compounds, along with testing for hydrogen sulfide, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Once the monitor has been calibrated, TCEQ scientists will evaluate the data for any potential health impacts, according to TCEQ spokeswoman Andrea Morrow. The data will be posted on the agency’s website when it becomes available.

David Sullivan, a research associate with the University of Texas’ Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, will be collecting data from the monitor and preparing reports for TCEQ.

He said the primary objective of the Karnes County monitor will be to determine what’s in the air people are breathing, and whether it affects human health.

Sullivan, who also has studied the regional air effects of oil and gas for TCEQ, said information from the monitor will be used to assess possible long-term and short-term health risks as well as identifying any nuisance concerns, like odors.

Sullivan will review data from the monitor to determine the source of the emissions being registered. It will be up to TCEQ to decide whether the data indicates emissions exceed state health standards.

The monitor’s findings will be compared with TCEQ’s chemical exposure guidelines, which are used to assess the risk to humans.

The guidelines have undergone scientific peer review, Morrow said. To protect human health, the guidelines are set at levels below those that would cause adverse health effects, she said.

“Therefore, when a (guideline) is exceeded, it does not necessarily mean that an adverse health effect is expected, but rather that a more in-depth review is needed,” Morrow said.

But a review of TCEQ’s comparative values by InsideClimate News and the Center for Public Integrity found that nearly 60 percent of the TCEQ guidelines for outdoor air quality are less protective than similar numbers used by the Environmental Protection Agency and by California, whose guidelines are among the strictest in the nation.

Information generated by the monitor also will be used by TCEQ to determine whether new limits or standards on emissions from the oil-and-gas industry in the region are warranted, Sullivan said.

(EDITORS: STORY CAN END HERE)

Sullivan is careful to explain that not all emissions can be attributed to oil and gas wells. Vehicle exhaust fumes could be a source, for example. He’s also quick to caution that even if a toxic emission is detected, it doesn’t necessarily indicate people are in danger.

He used benzene as an example. It’s a chemical proven to cause cancer, even at very low amounts.

Benzene is commonly detected in the air in residential areas, in rural areas and around industry, he said.

“You face it wherever you go,” he said. “Just because you measure it above zero does not mean it’s a problem.”

Data from the Karnes County monitor will be used to provide an impartial look at what’s in the air, he said.

“The idea is to put the emissions into a context so people can make rational decisions rather than being alarmed,” he said.

Elena Craft, a Texas-based health scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, said she expects the results from the TCEQ’s monitor to do little to protect human health or curb emissions.

“Historically we have seen very little action on the part of the agency in addressing issues raised when health guidelines that the state has set are exceeded,” she said.

She is critical of the state’s relatively lax air quality guidelines that allow people to be exposed to higher amounts of chemicals. Even when the levels are exceeded, she said, the agency often finds excuses to discount the findings.

“In general, I think, the process is designed to give the least health protection possible with the information available,” Craft said.

(EDITORS: STORY CAN END HERE)

Craft also questioned TCEQ’s commitment to using the data to structure its permitting system to reduce emissions from oil and gas operations.

“I don’t believe the agency is using its full authority to control emissions,” she said. “They spend a considerable amount of time and money developing guidelines and even when they are exceeded don’t use that authority to enact change,” she said.

An investigation by InsideClimate News, The Center for Public Integrity and the Weather Channel in February 2014 disclosed that the TCEQ knows little about air quality in the area. The series, “Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil & Bad Air on the Texas Prairie,” found that from Sept. 1, 2009, through Aug. 31, 2013, there was a 100 percent increase in statewide unplanned toxic air releases associated with oil and gas production and that companies were rarely fined, even when inspections revealed they were operating equipment improperly.

The courthouse site was picked because of its central location in Karnes City, a community in the midst of one of the largest oil and gas booms in the nation.

Although the TCEQ conducts sporadic mobile monitoring and operates five permanent monitors at the edges of the 20,000-square mile, 26-county Eagle Ford, little monitoring has been conducted in areas with the heaviest drilling activity.

More than 10,000 oil and gas wells have been sunk in the Eagle Ford since 2008. Emissions from the wells have prompted residents to complain of breathing difficulties and other health problems.

———

(InsideClimate News is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that covers clean energy, carbon energy, nuclear energy and environmental science. More information is available at http://insideclimatenews.org/.)

———

© 2015 InsideClimate News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

_____

Topics: t000002537,t000396078,t000003817,t000040348,t000041079,t000041155,t000036956,t000002574,g000362661,g000065562,g000066164

Poll

Loading…

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists