A new report by environmental watchdog group, Earthworks, highlights the public health risks of fracking in Eagle Ford Shale, dangerous risks overshadowed by the lucrative oil and gas drilling. The startling report, Reckless Endangerment While Fracking the Eagle Ford, also exposes a “toxic mix of irresponsible industry operators and negligent regulators” who have failed to protect the health and safety of families living near the booming South Texas oil and gas operations.
The recently released report details findings of an investigative study that began in March 2013 by Earthwork’s Oil and Gas Accountability Project. A Karnes County mother who said her family was experiencing health problems caused by shale oil and gas development near their home had contacted the non-profit group. The family had repeatedly filed complaints with state regulators about strong odors from the oil and gas operations and health problems associated with those odors. After regulators failed to provide positive results, the family turned to Earthworks for help.
According to the report, Karnes County residents had filed more than 30 complaints with state regulators, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ, the state’s lead environmental agency, formerly the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission) and the Railroad Commission of Texas (the state’s leading energy regulators of oil and gas production), about “bad”, “sulfur-like”, “rotten egg”, “petroleum”, “crude”, “chemical” and other “terrible” odors. The residents complained about health problems such as headaches, nosebleeds, vomiting, rashes, and burning in their eyes, noses and throats associated with the odors. The report stated that residents living near the Marcellus Shale gas operations in Pennsylvania had suffered the same type of symptoms.
In its investigation, Earthworks reportedly found that although state regulators discovered pollution in Karnes County so dangerous that they left the area to avoid exposure, the regulators took no subsequent action to protect residents at risk or penalize a company responsible. According to the report, evidence from TCEQ and Earthworks’ investigations indicate that air pollution from Eagle Ford oil and gas development “definitely threatens, and likely harms, the health of Karnes County, Texas residents.”
Testing of the air showed large volumes of volatile organic compounds as well as methane, the report stated. Many chemicals detected are associated with oil and gas operations and the health symptoms residents experienced. The report also stressed that hydrogen sulfide was found at three major Eagle Ford Shale fields. According to OSHA, breathing hydrogen sulfide can cause a range of health effects, and exposure to very high concentrations can quickly lead to death.
Need a Texas Attorney Who Knows How to Handle Eagle Ford Shale Injury & Environmental Contamination Claims?
If you or a family member suffered serious injury related to oil and gas operations in the Eagle Ford Shale area, or experienced significant loss due to environmental contamination of your property, contact The Callahan Law Firm now. You can discuss your legal options with a caring, dedicated attorney who has extensive knowledge of the oil and gas industry and case laws related to liability and compensation.