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Section A: General News


Eagle Ford: Seniors learn about fracking, air quality


Eagle Ford: Seniors learn about fracking, air quality


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Pascalle Bippert
WCN Correspondent
April 10, 2013
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LA VERNIA -- The Eagle Ford shale oil and gas exploration continues and even local senior citizens are trying to become more knowledgeable about its impact.

Guest speaker Peter Bella from the Alamo Area Council of Governments visited the Aging Gracefully seniors April 3 in the La Vernia United Methodist Church family life building to discuss the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” -- the method used to extract oil and natural gas in the Eagle Ford shale. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in math.

Bella specifically addressed air quality for his audience. He shared a video produced by Marathon Oil that explains how the fracking drilling process works.

The video, using animation, demonstrated how the companies drill vertically using water and chemicals into the rock below the water table, then drill horizontally once they reach the desired table of rock. Concrete is used to seal the pipe from leaking chemicals and solvents and water into the water table. Once the drilling process is complete, the pipes are capped off and the drilling structure is removed. Then the land surrounding the drilling rig is replanted with native grasses and returned to its former state, allowing livestock to graze and live around the site.

Bella discussed how concrete plants affect air quality, and how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) follows pollution plumes from Houston all the way up to Waco. He showed how winds affect our air quality.

The program allowed time for discussion and questions from the seniors attending. Discussion included how diesel-fueled vehicles belch out black smoke and how the cumulative effect of that exhaust rises to the atmosphere and gets baked by the sun to increase the harmful levels of ozone. The San Antonio news and radio programs announce “Ozone Alert” days; on such days, area residents should limit driving and outdoor activities.

Aging Gracefully takes place each Wednesday at the La Vernia United Methodist Church and is open to everyone over the age of 55, regardless of religion. A meal is provided for a donation/love offering. The schedule includes entertainment, education, and activities; doors open prior to 11 a.m.
 

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