- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The state’s environmental quality commission said it plans to add a new air monitor in the Eagle Ford Shale to help measure pollution from oil and gas sites in South Texas.

The move comes after Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff criticized the agency’s attempts to curb air pollution in the shale region south and east of San Antonio, the San Antonio Express-News reported (https://bit.ly/1mMnhUH ). The new monitoring site will be in Karnes County, but a specific location has not yet been identified.

In a Sept. 2 letter to commission Chairman Bryan Shaw, Wolff noted no monitoring sites were close to the busy drilling activity in the shale region. He cited the newspaper’s yearlong investigation that showed natural gas flares pumped out more pollution than all six oil refineries in Corpus Christi. The flares are supposed to burn off impurities in raw gas and convert it into carbon dioxide.

Wolff also said the Alamo Area Council of Governments was studying how air pollutants from Eagle Ford could drift into Bexar County and potentially increase ozone levels, triggering stricter EPA regulations.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had said it had no plans to install more monitors in Eagle Ford, but Shaw responded to Wolff in a letter last week that said more monitoring was on the way. An agency spokesman said Monday plans had been in the works for “well over a year.”

Wolff wrote to Shaw on Monday that he was pleased to learn about the plans to install the air monitor “as this is an often-expressed constituent concern.”

The commission’s chairman also said pollutants from Eagle Ford weren’t likely to increase ozone levels in Bexar County.

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Information from: San Antonio Express-News, https://www.mysanantonio.com

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