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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Who You Gonna Call?

When fracking sites encroach upon your residential neighborhood, who DO you call when you hear an explosion, smell fumes, feel the earth move, or worse yet ~ who DO you call if a dam is breached?  

The Railroad Commission of Texas, the State agency that regulates Oil and Gas, requires gas operators to clearly display proper signage listing emergency contact numbers.  Since emergencies can happen at any time on any given day, one would assume that a responsible party would be available to answer these calls 24/7.  

Just out of curiosity, we tested the three emergency numbers listed at the bottom of the signage of this Vantage-operated Lake Arlington Baptist Church Site to find out who actually answers gas drilling-related emergency calls.  

 Signage at Lake Arlington Baptist Church Gas Drill Site, Arlington, TX

The first number rang and rang.  No answer.  No voice mail to leave a message.  We called the third number, and a recorded message said, "caller not accepting calls at this time."  When we tried the number with a Colorado area code, a guy named Dan answered his cell phone.  He stated that he is with Vantage, and that he is located in the Denton area.  That is a wonderful place to be since the citizens of Denton voted in favor of a fracking ban

It is curious that the number for the Railroad Commission of Texas ~ the State agency responsible for regulating Oil and Gas and protecting our groundwater ~ is NOT listed on this signage.  If residents call 911, the City is not required to communicate or report incidents to the appropriate regulatory agencies responsible for protecting our air and water.  That is the citizens' responsibility. 

Oil and Gas self-regulates.  

So, for instance, if an operator has a mishap and cracks a casing or experiences a pressure issue, they are required to self-report.  It's an honor system.  And we know how forthright they've been with our communities thus far.

So, who will you call when when you hear an explosion, smell fumes, feel the earth move, or worse yet ~ who you gonna call when the dam is breached


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