For the third year in a row, San Antonio is likely to be in violation of permissible ozone levels as set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to some predictions. If so, it's also like that the 20,000 square mile Eagle Ford Shale play just south of San Antonio is at least partly responsible for this continuing air quality problem.
A school bus packed with children collided with a van carrying oil and gas workers in the Eagle Ford Shale region early Thursday morning, killing three of the people in the van. Reports of the fatal Eagle Ford crash indicate that children in the school bus suffered only bumps and bruises in the collision.
The Keystone Pipeline, run by TransCanada, reportedly began pumping this week as scheduled. It is delivering crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma to Nederland, Texas, crossing a span of just under 500 miles. This is the southern portion of the Keystone Pipeline. Because it doesn't cross international borders (Canada), it did not require Presidential approval to begin transporting crude.
The Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin have served as the backdrop to many million-dollar stories in Southwest Texas. Fracking technologies have given oil and gas companies access to the large stores of natural gas and oil deep below Texas' surface. Land that once would have sold for a couple thousand dollars an acre is now selling for much more than that or being leased to oil and gas companies in return for monthly royalty checks.
Here in Texas, particularly in the Eagle Ford Shale and the Barnett Shale plays, increased truck traffic that is the byproduct of the booming oil and gas industry has caused headaches, damage and serious accidents on rural and large roadways. In North Dakota, where the Bakken field has led to a substantial boom in shale production, increased train traffic is causing similar problems. Train transport is used to move approximately two-thirds of North Dakota's shale oil from the fields into production sites.
Just north of Dallas, the city of Denton, Texas thought it was taking steps to protect its citizens and their property from the side effects of fracking and the shale oil boom by passing an ordinance prohibiting the building of wells within 1200 feet of a home. However, the ordinance grandfathered in existing wells and some of these are within a 200-foot radius of some residents' front doors. The city referred to these sites as having "vested rights."
While many people associate the oil and gas boom as a renaissance for Texas and the cities and towns that have benefitted from the influx of jobs and infusion of resources, the boom also has its drawbacks. A recent report by the KENS5 I-Team noted that the burden on rural counties, particularly in the Eagle Ford Shale region, is acute.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to set air quality standards pursuant to the Clean Air Act. For ozone, the EPA has set the standard for ambient air at 75 parts per billion (ppb). San Antonio registers an ozone level as high as 87 ppb, well over the EPA's set limit.
A safety check went all wrong this week, sending a man to a San Antonio hospital with serious injuries. Investigators initially believe that static electricity is to blame for an explosion that involved diesel and salt water storage tanks in Karnes City, part of the Eagle Ford Shale play.
An oil rig in Lavaca County blew out on a Wednesday in the Eagle Ford Shale and crews were still working to cap it off and put out a resulting fire on Friday. There were no injuries reported as a result of the oil rig explosion at a site owned by EOG Resources.