Gas Patch Pollution Linked to First Alamo City Ozone Violation

by jim on August 23, 2012

Ever since smog was an issue in Texas starting in the last 1980's, the two largest metropolitan areas have been duking it out for worst air in the state. Houston was the undisputed champion for awhile, but as of the last couple of years, Dallas-Ft. Worth has been neck and neck, and last, year, even posted worse numbers than Bayou City. No other city even came close.

Until now.

For the first time ever, San Antonio has a monitor in violation of the national ozone standard. It's the new standard of 75 parts per billion, so it's still way ahead of Houston and Ft. Worth that are still have chronic problems meeting the old 1997 85 ppb standard. But it's still a milestone.

What factors helped push SA over the line? Well, theres the significant growth of the larger metropolitan area itself, and out-of-state power plants that will now not be better controlled because of Team Perry's victory over the cross state pollution rules, and oh yeah, gas patch air polluion from the Eagle Ford Shale that's up wind of  San Anontio:

"Increased air pollution from the oil and gas boom of the Eagle Ford Shale is believed to be a factor, in addition to local sources and pollution coming from Mexico, East Texas and the East Coast."

In the last two days, we've seen a report confirm that Utah's winter smog is attributable to gas mining pollution and that San Antonio's worsening air quality is getting that way because of the same phenomena. But somehow, when it comes to DFW and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, gas patch pollution magically loses its ability to form smog. No way 15,000 Barnett Shale wells and all the associated infrastructure contribute to smog in the Metromess, says the state. No way the pollution from the  Haynesville Shale between Houston and Dallas make DFW's chronic smog problems worse. Its all good when it gets to North Texas.
When will local governments realize that if they want cleaner air, they're going to have to stop paying attention to the state of Texas, whose own interests do not correspond with their own?

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