By: Duane Craig
“Respiratory problems, stomach issues, heart issues, fatigue and aches and pains” top residents lists of ailments in the Cherry Creek subdivision in Shepherd, Texas, according to this Eastex Advocate article. One resident even claims to be waking up at night with chest pains and vomiting. Residents claim an oil producer nearby, Famcor, is the source of air pollution, or other contamination, that is making them sick.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was on the case looking for air quality issues while the Texas Railroad Commission, which is supposed to handle investigations into soil and water contamination, had been elusive about answering questions related to their activities in the case -- at least at the time the article referenced above was published. One resident claimed to be told by an official of the agency that it didn’t have enough people to regulate all the businesses it is supposed to oversee and that some of its required inspections were years behind schedule.
TCEQ says it hasn’t found any air quality violations and has monitored the area on seven occasions, even using infrared cameras at times. The suspect company has a permit that allows it to release a certain amount of pollution. The investigation and air quality testing continues.