Back to mobile

They Poison Horses, Don’t They?: Part II

by Published on

The Fort Worth Weekly has a great story, “Sacrificed to Shale,” out today on DISH.

Reporter Peter Gorman finds a town more or less destroyed by gas companies: People’s ranchettes chewed up by eminent domain; plunging property values; dying trees coated with sulfur dust; young, healthy folks suddenly having neurological problems; and, of course, horses dropping dead.

Here’s the lede:

Lloyd Burgess owns the Lucky B horse farm in Denton County. He made a good living raising and boarding horses there from 1993 until 2006, good enough to pay for a $350,000, 45-stall barn a few years back. These days though, it’s not so lucky.

Everything changed for him in October 2006, when an explosion occurred at a gas compressor station just beyond the edge of his 30 acres. Burgess, who had been out of town, returned to discover that one of his mares had aborted her foal. Two weeks later, the same thing happened to a second mare.

Bad things just kept happening after that, on his farm in the oddly renamed town of DISH, just up the road from Justin. Several months later one of his stallions got sick and finally had to be put down. Then a mare went blind. Then another stallion, a valuable quarter horse, got sick and was saved only when a friend offered to take if off Burgess’ property, away from the compressor stations on Burgess’ back fence line, to nurse it back to health.

The whole story is worth reading.

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.