Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tx RR Commission Candidate - Dale Henry: Protecting state's water a priority

By RANDY ROSS - Longview News-Journal - Friday, February 08, 2008

Protecting the waters of Texas is a priority for Dale Henry.

The 76-year-old Democratic candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission said the production of oil and gas in Texas does not matter if the industry destroys Texas' natural water sources.

"We have to stop wasting and contaminating our water," Henry said.

Henry faces Art Hall of San Antonio and Mark Thompson of Hamilton in the Democratic primary election on March 4.

Henry has more than 40 years of experience working in the oil and natural gas fields in the United States and abroad, according to his campaign Web site. He has a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

"I've been hands-on from the top to the bottom," Henry said. "I more or less speak the language of the oilfield."

The Railroad Commission is the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry and the surface mining of coal. Established by the Legislature in 1891, the commission is the state's oldest regulatory agency, according to the agency's Web site.

The self-described environmentalist from Lampasas is a former city manager and county commissioner. He also founded 4 Arrows, the first cementing service company contracted by the railroad commission.

Henry said his experience in the oil and gas industry make him an ideal candidate for the commission. He said he knows the commission's rules and regulations from working as a contractor, and he would be able to begin working on his first day.

The oil and gas industry has a strong economic impact on the state, he said. That impact has come at a cost to the public, he said.

Henry said the commission has for many years considered the economics of the industry more important than public safety. He said that philosophy has changed in recent years, but it needs to continue to change. He said the commission must consider what is in the public's best interest.

"Environmentally, we have a problem," Henry said.

He said companies often cut corners when installing casing in wells to save money. As time erodes sealing and concrete shifts, water begins flowing and drawing out contaminants.

By forcing companies to install casing properly, Henry said companies would save more money in the long-term by avoiding remedial and repair work.

"These are serious matters," Henry said.

Attempts to reach Republican incumbent Michael Williams for comment were unsuccessful Thursday.

Read more in the Longview News-Journal

1 comment:

Jay said...

EPA STATES 5ppm Benzene in ground water is a health hazard...
Recent tests show 11,000ppb in ground water in Stephens County

Soil and water contamination from leaky natural gas lines in Eastland and Stephens counties prompted an investigation by the Texas Railroad Commission in June, 2007.

The sites still being investigated are located on 1,600 acres of land owned by Jay Marcom, rancher, who began to suspect chemical contamination in January, 2007 when patches of a 20-acre field of oats started dying.

''I noticed the grass was dying in several places,'' Marcom explained.

Marcom notified the Texas Railroad Commission and investigations were launched to see if the lines, used for gas gathering, were leaking.

''We are trying to identify the contamination there,'' said Rich Varela, executive director of the RRC. The RRC is the agency that regulates all oil and gas lines and production in the state. ''It will be up to the companies to clean it up,'' Varela said. ''We will be sure it is cleaned up and remediated the minute we find anything.''

Marcom said he has received the results of lab tests done on the sites that indicate there is benzene contamination.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency Web site, benzene can cause nervous system disorders, immune system depression and anemia if exposure is short-term. Long-term exposure could cause cancer.

Peter Pope with the Texas Railroad Commission has ordered the pipeline companies to install monitor water wells. The pipeline companies have installed 5 wells to date.

Attached is a photo of a water sample pulled from one of the water wells. The sample shows black oil and condensate floating on top of the fluid pulled from the welll.

Marcom stated "we now have proof that ground water, well water in Stephens County is contaminated with oil and cancer causing chemicals. ALL UNREGULATED GAS GATHERING LINES MUST BE REGULATED!" "It is not "IF" the ground water is contaminated, it is now "HOW MUCH" ground water is contaminated" Marcom stated.

On March 27, 2008 a 5th water well will be drilled on county road 137 in Stephens County .

Drilling will start at 8AM .

Dale Henry, Democratic candidate for Texas Railroad Commission, will be in Stephens County on Thursday, March 27, 2008 to highlight the contamination of groundwater caused by leaking underground petrochemical pipelines.

Henry will hold a media availability in conjunction with residents of La Casa and Stephens County to discuss the issue of benzene-contaminated groundwater and tour monitoring wells drilled in the area in the morning and take part in a community meeting to discuss the situation later that evening. Stephens County landowners have feared that leaking pipelines and
natural gas compressors were contaminating their groundwater for more than a year.

Tests conducted in early March confirmed that the groundwater in Stephens County near the community of LaCasa is contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen.

"This is a terrible tragedy, and one that could have been prevented," said Henry. "As Railroad Commissioner, ensuring that our groundwater remains free of contamination from faulty underground pipelines will be a top priority of mine," he said.


WHAT: Texas Railroad Commission Candidate Dale Henry will tour, with the media, contaminated well sites in Stephens County, and a newly dug monitoring well.

WHEN: March 27, 2008 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: La Casa Community Center (at the intersection of State

207 and State Highway 717, north of Ranger).


WHAT: Texas Railroad Commission Candidate Dale Henry will take part

in a community meeting for La Casa/Stephens County residents concerning

contamination of groundwater.

WHEN: March 27, 2008, 6 p.m.

WHERE: La Casa Community Center (at the intersection of State Highway 207 and State Highway 717, north of

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Mr. Henry is an invited participant in this event. The event is put on by individual
residents in La Casa and Stephens County. For more information on the local situation in La Casa/Stephens County,
Jay Marcom at (254) 559-2964.