I also have never been put into the position that the natural gas industry and more specifically the natural gas pipeline industry has put me in here in DISH. I still believe we need energy exploration, but we need to do it right, and the manner in which it is being accomplished here, would be appalling to any logical person if the truth gets out there. You may get this vision, by only looking at the massive compressor station facility we have here. I have not found a single person, who believes what they have done to us is fair or reasonable, not even those who work in this industry.
Lately there has been much debate over the effects of the air quality in this area, and how much that is being affected by the natural gas exploration. I must be honest, I am no expert on air quality; however, I do know what we have been breathing for the past several years can not be good for us. The strong natural gas smell that has invaded our quiet community could not be healthy. On some of the more severe odorant leaks, people were complaining that they were having difficulty breathing; therefore it can not be harmless as they say.
Many of the studies deal with the effects on the area as a whole rather than an area like ours which has such a large conglomerate of natural gas processing facilities. One of the experts accounted one of the largest causes of air pollution to be compressor engine exhaust. Therefore, I must naturally wonder how we are affected with 11 compressors in the immediate area. Please note that we are a small town, not a massive city. We are roughly two square miles in size; therefore, none of the citizens here are that far away from this site.
I represent the people of this community; however, the air quality here also hits a very personal nerve. You see I have young son who was born 10 weeks premature. When he was born, his lungs were not fully developed, and therefore he needed to spend his first couple of day of life attached to a ventilator. This has led to him having some respiratory problems including asthma. The more I learn about the air quality and the relationship that has with my son’s asthma it makes this whole issue a lot more personal.
My son is now six, and every minor cold can turn into pneumonia that requires extensive medical care and on many instances a trip to the emergency room because of his breathing. If you have never had this happen to you, imagine the helpless feeling of not being able to help your child, who is struggling for every breath. I am not the only one here with a story like this, any here share similar stories, and health concerns, and most would like to see the entire mess cleaned up. Therefore, I feel I have a great deal of support from the community here to give us an extensive enough study to determine what is in our air and exactly how much of it comes from the conglomerate of compressor stations here, and also what effects it has on the human body.
I am finding it very difficult to find an environmental consultant that will help us. Unfortunately, most of the environmental companies are working for the industry, and therefore, they can not help us. Should someone be able to direct me to a respected environmental consultant, please pass on any information you may have. I would be nice to really have a non-biased opinion. The taking of the air samples is fairly elementary, and therefore, I can do that myself. However, it will difficult to find exactly what the numbers mean, and therefore, we will need an expert.
We have a new trend here with the pipeline companies, which is going just outside of our corporate limits and putting in a cheaper, uglier, noisier facility just outside our corporate limits. This is so they do not have to meet the minimum reasonable requirements that we have. They would prefer, to continue to make their profits at the expense of our community.
If they our outside of our corporate limits there is little we can do, and as previously mentioned the state agencies are not doing their job, so we are kind of out of luck. That leaves us only with the civil suit option, and many in the community are ready to make that step. I have tried to stay away from that option myself; however, it is starting to look like the only option for all of us to protect ourselves and our families.