Some Regulators Paying More Attention to Oil and Gas Pollution Complaints

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently announced new procedures for responding to citizen complaints about odors, air pollution emissions, and spills linked to natural gas drilling. The state has committed to investigating an emissions or pollution complaint within 12 hours of receiving it and will investigate with infrared cameras, air sampling canisters, and other measures.  

In Los Angeles, where NRDC is suing to get stronger community protections in place, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is beginning an air sampling project that will sample air where there are odor complaints in residential areas. While the drilling there is focused on producing oil, there is natural gas being vented and flared as part of the drilling process.

These are welcome moves. It remains to be seen what regulators will do with the data they gather, but we hope to see regulatory and enforcement action to protect familes and communities in the coming year.

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