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May 2024 Newsletter

Howdy, yall! As you read this, Sharon and Miguel are back out in the Permian giving tours and continuing to document the ongoing methane pollution crisis. In organizational news, Jack McDonald joined us for the summer. Here are the highlights from a busy May for Oilfield Witness.

Sharon was featured in a new video report “The Scandal of Shale Gas” by the French news group Konbini and its visit to Arlington to learn the impacts of French oil company Total's fracking operations there and in Freeport, Texas. In the introduction Sharon notes that, “It’s like putting gasoline on a fire. That’s what it is doing to our climate.”

Shale gas: Damage Caused by French Imports - Report by Konbini France with English subtitles

Oilfield Witness Documenting Emissions in Arlington

On Memorial Day weekend Sharon was at work in Arlington documenting ongoing emissions from a Total production site during flowback operations at the Bruder Gas Lease in Arlington, Texas. This was happening in a neighborhood approximately 200 to 300 feet away from backyards where children play.

Sharon wrote about the experience on our blog and on May 28th Sharon attended the Arlington City Council meeting and read the following comments as the City Council was considering approving new drilling permits for Total.

Midland News on New Methane Regulations

Sharon and Miguel were both featured in a CBS7 News piece on the new methane regulations.

“Even if you don’t care about global warming, you should care about your lungs and the health of yourself and your family members,” Escoto said. “So when we reduce the level of methane emissions, we also reduce the level of volatile organic compounds [and] hydrogen sulfide, which are very harmful to us.”

Equal Pollution Protection Campaign Launch

May marked the launch of the Equal Pollution Protection Campaign, a joint effort of Oilfield Witness and Texas Permian for Future Generations which asks that the pollution protections in the Barnett Shale are applied to the rest of Texas. While regulations in the Barnett are still not adequate to protect the public from the harms of oil and gas production, they are better than what currently exists in the Permian and the rest of Texas.

CBS7 covered the launch of the campaign.

“We deserve the same protection that other Texans do, right? There’s a lot that the industry can do to reduce their level of pollution because at the end of the day, this is about the health of people that live here,” said Miguel Escoto, organizer for Oilfield Witness.

The first billboard for the campaign debuted this week in Odessa.

CBS7 Special Report Features Sharon

CBS7 in broadcast a piece titled, “Special report: The cost of aging oilfields.” Sharon was in the field with them while documenting the damage on another ranch in the Permian.

“This is reality. Out here on this ranch is the reality of the oil and gas industry, not what you see on their TV ads,” Sharon Wilson.

Hiring Jack McDonald

Jack is joining us as our Research Assistant and Policy Analyst for the summer. Jack is a 3rd year at the University of Chicago studying environmental science and public policy. He hopes to advocate for the young people who will have to live with the impacts of current policy makers choices on climate change. He has researched and published multiple reports detailing the failure of environmental regulators in Texas which have elicited responses from both regulators and industry insiders.

- Till the end of oil

The Oilfield Witness Team

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April 2024