Thirty Texas lawmakers recently wrote to Gov. Rick Perry seeking an emergency proclamation for additional air monitors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to track emissions from Barnett Shale natural gas activity.
The monitors would be funded through the Texas Emission Reduction Program (TERP), the 22 House members and eight senators wrote. The area to be monitored would include the 16 counties of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regions 3 and 4. Up to 20 new monitors would be added to those already on the ground using $5 million of TERP funding.
As part of the monitoring program, quarterly reports to TCEQ and annual reports to the legislature would be required, the lawmakers proposed.
"The installation of air monitors across the region reinforces the state's commitment to clean air across all of Texas," they wrote. "It provides an opportunity for 'good science' and unbiased statistics, revealing an accurate picture of our air quality while considering factors such as the region's growing mobility demands."
Each monitor costs up to $250,000 for the equipment, installation and the first year of operation. Operating each monitor will cost up to $100,000 per year thereafter, according to TCEQ.
Testing for 46 different volatile organic compounds (VOC), including benzene, the monitors also provide total non-methane VOC concentrations and meteorological data, which are important in analyzing air quality readings, according to TCEQ.