Texas Schools Allow Drilling for Gas, Students Fall Ill

Texas Schools Allow Drilling for Gas, Students Fall Ill by Environmental Working Group, November 05, 2010, Opposing views
On Sept. 27, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram’s Robert Cadwallader reported that Carrizo Oil and Gas – another Texas-based company, had set up a rig near South Davis Elementary in nearby Arlington, Texas. In late September, the school board gave the go-ahead to the company to drill under the school to reach its “lease pool” of natural gas, which is located under another property in the area. The school district and Carrizo recently settled a lawsuit in which the district had argued the company owed it $3 million in bonuses.

Last January tests conducted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found elevated levels of benzene near a number of drilling operations. Benzene is one of the toxic chemicals used in fracking. Chronic exposure to benzene is known to cause leukemia and other blood diseases. People are primarily exposed through breathing urban air, automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke. Hillwood International Energy appears to be a privately held company.

Carizzo is publicly traded, and its 2009 annual report describes the risks of its exploration and drilling operations in disquieting terms: We are subject to various operating and other casualty risks that could result in liability exposure or the loss of production and revenues. The natural gas and oil business involves operating hazards such as: well blowouts; mechanical failures; explosions; uncontrollable flows of oil, natural gas or well fluids; fires; geologic formations with abnormal pressures; pipeline ruptures or spills; releases of toxic gases; and other environmental hazards and risks. Any of these hazards and risks can result in the loss of hydrocarbons, environmental pollution, personal injury claims and other damage to our properties and the property of others.

“You can’t put a price on keeping our kids healthy,” [Emphasis added]

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