City of Fort Worth Natural Gas Air Quality Study
The city of Fort Worth is home to extensive natural gas production and exploration as it lies on top of the Barnett Shale, a highly productive natural gas shale formation in north-central Texas. The Barnett Shale underlies 23 counties, including four (Tarrant, Denton, Wise, and Parker) that lie partly within the Fort Worth city boundaries. Over the last several years, natural gas production in the Barnett Shale has increased dramatically. This increase in activity has been brought about by advancements in drilling technologies, most notably hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling. As the Barnett Shale formation is located beneath a highly populated urban environment, extraction of natural gas from it has involved exploration and production operations in residential areas, near public roads and schools, and close to where the citizens of Fort Worth live and work. Due to the highly visible nature of natural gas drilling, fracturing, compression, and collection activities, many individual citizens and community groups in the Fort Worth area have become concerned that these activities could have an adverse effect on their quality of life. In response to these concerns, on March 9, 2010, the Fort Worth City Council adopted Resolution 3866-03-2010 appointing a committee to review air quality issues associated with natural gas exploration and production. This committee was composed of private citizens, members of local community groups, members of environmental advocacy groups, and representatives from industry. The committee was charged to make recommendations to the City Council on a scope of work for a comprehensive air quality assessment to evaluate the impacts of natural gas exploration and production, to evaluate proposals submitted in response to a solicitation for conducting this study, and to ultimately choose a qualified organization to conduct the study.