U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess had some strong words for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today following news that it presented inaccurate results to the Fort Worth City Council and failed to notify the city or the public for weeks after it realized the error.
The Lewisville Republican wants an investigation into why the agency didn't make immediately clear that its testing of air quality in Fort Worth related to gas drilling had some problems as soon as they became aware of it.
“Those responsible should be held fully accountable, and I believe that a robust investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s office would be appropriate,” Burgess said in a statement.
Burgess said he was recently briefed by TCEQ on air
quality issues related to gas drilling and he's not happy to find out now that he
wasn't presented with all of the data.
“I relied on the information I was given, as did many others in North
Texas,” Burgess said. “I find it personally offensive to find out that
what I have been told may not be the full story on the air quality
issues in the area that affect millions of North Texans. There are a
lot of questions that TCEQ needs to answer, and the public is right to
The TCEQ conducted air tests in Fort Worth in December and told city officials at a public meeting the next month that the air was safe.
State officials later discovered that the tests had been done with equipment that wasn't sensitive enough to measure some of the compounds at lower levels which could be harmful under long term exposure. Samples were retested. After three showed higher levels of an airborne toxic compound, the agency took new samples at those same sites but didn’t inform the city or the public.
Testing of the new samples didn’t find any elevated levels of toxic fumes.