For immediate release March 11, 2013

For More Information: Zac Trahan, Texas Campaign for the Environment Phone 214-599-7840 Jim Schermbeck, Downwinders at Risk Phone 806-787-6567

Revelations about Previous Accident put Gas Company Seeking to Drill in Dallas on the Defensive
Company threatens to sue environmental group for saying casing failure in Irving may have contaminated groundwater
(Dallas)---As Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm has faced mounting questions over her handling of the Trinity East gas leases—and City Attorney Tom Perkins has announced his departure— the gas company itself has lashed out against opponents working to prevent drilling on cityowned park lands. With help from regional activists, Dallas residents have unearthed state documents showing that Trinity East had previously drilled a well in Irving in 2009 that had an accidental casing failure deep underground. Environmentalists have raised questions about any potential groundwater pollution that may have resulted, pointing out that contamination was and still is possible—which prompted the gas company to issue a “cease and desist” letter, threatening a lawsuit. Zac Trahan of Texas Campaign for the Environment, named in the letter, said the group has worked with an attorney to issue a response. He pointed out that residents should be concerned about such an accident happening in Dallas. Gas well casings are designed to protect underground aquifers from the toxic chemicals used in the drilling and fracking process. “Industry data and reports show that one out of every 20 gas wells will have a casing failure immediately, and Trinity East has applied to drill up to 60 wells in Dallas,” said Trahan. “The company has admitted that a gas well they drilled along the Trinity River had a casing failure, and as far as we know, no independent testing was required to determine whether or not this resulted in groundwater contamination.” Prior to 2012, state law only required gas companies to submit a report to the state explaining how far underground a casing failure occurred. Trinity East, then known as Expro Engineering, reported that it was 2,800 feet below the surface—which is about 600 feet beneath the deepest water aquifer. In its letter, the company cited this self-reported depth as proof that the accident did not result in any groundwater pollution. “Any casing failure on that well could not have caused or produced aquifer contamination because surface casing was set and cemented at required depths to protect all fresh water aquifers.”

But environmentalists are urging Dallas officials to demand more than just the word of the gas company, saying the state documents raise more questions than they answer. Jim Schermbeck of Downwinders at Risk posed several of those questions. He said Dallas officials and Trinity East representatives still have much to explain. “An adjacent well the gas company drilled was said to be ‘closed in waiting for construction of a production facility.’ Is this the Trinity East gas processing facility proposed in Dallas? The City of Dallas is listed as one of the entities in the lease agreement for this Irving drilling site. When did the City Council authorize this lease? What is the full extent of the relationship between Dallas and this gas company?” The Dallas City Plan Commission is scheduled to vote on the three proposed drilling sites near the Luna Vista Golf Course and a gas processing facility near the new Elm Fork Soccer Complex on March 21st. ###

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