Environmental issues have come to the forefront in Denton County, Texas. Over the past several years, residents have been concerned about natural gas drilling and production and its impact on air quality and water quality, water quantity, habitats, quality of life, as well as public health in general. There are thousands of wells in the County. This is all in the context of poor air quality in the region (and air quality non-attainment), droughts, and drilling in increasingly urbanized areas.
Many battles have played out, from Dish, Texas to Flower Mound, Texas to Denton, Texas on the role of local municipalities in regulating this activity. This all takes place in context of the State of Texas regulations as well as the federal EPA and other laws.
It is vital that we elect people who will continue to fight for clean air, clean water, and quality of life at the state and national level. While developing new sources of energy, we need to act responsibly and promote both environmental and economic goals. Our candidates also support the development of renewable energy.
We have already seen the passage of new air quality laws at the EPA under the Obama administration that will apply to gas drilling sites nationwide after a transition period. These laws include such requirements as green completions that reduce air emissions and allow the gas companies to reclaim gas that would have been lost to the atmosphere.
There is still more work to be done to protect our air and water. Many Republican candidates have vowed to weaken or reverse many environmental regulations at the EPA, or national level. We continue to fight for improved EPA rules as well as legislation in Congress and at the Texas State Legislature that will responsibly protect citizens from the impacts of natural gas extraction activity as well as many other mineral and energy extraction activities.
Here is a link to the roster of candidates:
The Committee would like to highlight two local candidates who have provided their statements on environmental issues:
David Sanchez, Candidate for United States Representative, Texas District 26
“We need should be responsible when pursuing Oil and Natural Gas domestically. We should invest in research that will help us understand the consequences and how to extract our resources responsibly. I believe in green technology. This would not only create jobs in the North Texas area but will also reduce the US oil dependency on foreign nations and most importantly protect our environment for generations to come. We must continue on the path towards energy independence and sustainability.”
Mary Brown, Candidate for Texas Representative, District 64
“There is a long and storied history in Texas of the Oil and Gas industry, but one that is also marred with stories of irresponsible drilling that have become public more frequently in the past few years. I believe that drilling in Texas can still be done safely, without destroying our land, sky and water. The Companies that want to drill have to prove to us that it can be done safely without dumping waste into our water and allowing the well to leak into the ground.
Tougher penalties for wells not properly sealed and requiring drilling companies to go about their business in a safe manner does not kill jobs and does not put our State at risk of losing their business. We have to increase the inspection frequency of companies with bad safety records while giving a more lenient schedule to those that have a long record of drilling safely. This way the companies have an even greater incentive to drill safely and cleanly.
While we’re making drilling safer for our environment, we should look to our environment to create our next source of energy. In Texas, and especially North Texas, we have the sun and the wind to power alternative energy sources. Let Texas lead the nation and use our innovative spirit to use all of our natural resources to power our future.
We have to protect our environment because the State of Texas will be around for a very long time, and we want our land to be worth something when my Great-Grand Children are raising their families.
As a final note, I believe that local governments should be the greatest line of the defense when it comes to hydro-fracking and gas drilling within communities. The city of Denton and Cities across Texas need to make hard decisions about what they are going to allow in their communities and how best to balance energy production with the safety and well being of their citizens.”
The Environment and Energy Committee urges you to vote for our Democratic candidates in the November 6th, 2012 election to keep the momentum going, and to elect candidates that will fight to protect our environment. Early Voting continues until Friday, November 2nd, 2012.
Get out to vote for the environment!