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Air quality and the Eagle Ford: a Q&A with Peter Bella, AACOG natural resources director

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Peter Bella

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Right now what I'm trying to do is identify the right players, in other words I really need the technical staff in these companies to sit down with us and help us develop some kind of protocol. There's also this Texas A&M group that last summer did the first of what I hope will be a continuing process of actual site visits where they took clipboards and did a survey — like what's the equipment? What's its duty cycle? The whole nine yards, everything from generators to trucks.

If it is true the impacts on our ozone monitors from the Eagle Ford shale development could be part of the problem, we've got to make them part of the solution. And I think that's an easier sell to our local elected officials who are involved in local air quality planning. They understand the ozone issues and they understand that this is a process that requires management, that this is a real health risk issue as well. Sure it's a federal law, it's a clean air law. But underneath that is the health risk involved. So from a health risk standpoint, just to keep everyone breathing clean air, we need to continue to be vigilant and continue to keep the ozone levels low.

For the sake of the economic development that everybody wants to see in the region, we want to keep the ozone levels low too. Sure, Houson, L.A., and a lot of other places have continued to see economic development despite the fact that they are not compliant with federal air quality laws. But our long history of good air quality makes us hope that we can all work and achieve this. So there's the economic disincentive and there's the health risk.

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