DISH, TX — Shortly after a natural gas well was fractured using the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, a private water well within a thousand feet of the natural gas well site began showing sedimentation.  DISH resident Amber Smith says shortly after the well was fractured a fine sand like sediment was present in the water from their private water well. The Smith family installed a water filtration system shortly after the sediment became present and continued using the water.  However, after a year the sedimentation reached the point that it clogged the entire plumbing system, and the water well is now unusable.

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The Smith family removed the tank from the water well and removed over ten pounds of the sand like substance.  After dismantling and cleaning the well system, the Smith family reassembled the well only to have it completely obstructed after only 30 minutes of operation.  Devon Energy who is the operator of the gas well has refused to take responsibility for the failure.  The Railroad Commission of Texas responded and took samples of the tainted water for limited analyzing.  The town of DISH also had independent testing accomplished to determine the content of the sand like substance.   The water well owned by the Smith family shows levels of arsenic at 7.5 times the acceptable level for drinking water.  The water also contained lead at levels that were 21 times above the acceptable levels, and chromium at more that double the allowable limits.  Independent testing shows elevated levels of butanone, acetone, carbon disulfide, strontium, as well as heavy metals, all above safe drinking water standards.  The town is awaiting additional test results.

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DISH is located in the epicenter of the Barnett Shale gas play and is home to a megacomplex of compressor stations, as well as pipelines, metering stations, gathering lines and gas wells.  The town of DISH spent nearly 15% of its annual budget on a comprehensive air study after months of complaints to the state regulatory agencies and the operators of the compressor sites, gave the citizens no relief.   DISH mayor Calvin Tillman says that “we are finally getting our air cleaned up, and now our water is showing signs of pollution,  we take two steps forward and three steps back”.  These results clearly show a correlation between the natural gas drilling process and water contamination, and this industry should no longer make claims that they have never contaminated a water source.   DISH resident Amber Smith is extremely concerned that her young children has been drinking this water.    Attached is a photo of the contaminated water.

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May 5, 2010

“Gas Companies Are Picking the Pockets of the Citizens of Pennsylvania”

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There have been a lot of my friends in the industry who have found it necessary to begin aggressive personal attacks on me.  Several industry publications, such as the Powell Barnett Shale Newsletter have had articles and editorials stating that I am pretty much everything but a nice person.  This activity is not new; however, the intensity has been elevated and it has gotten much more personal.  This tells me that I must be making an impact, or they would not attack me personally. This also tells me that they have given up on attacking the message, now they are only attacking the man.

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Obviously, anyone who would bother to read the Powell Newsletter knows that it is industry funded.  As everyone also knows by now, I do not accept compensation or travel expenses for my presentations, and unfortunately those at the Powell Newsletter can’t say the same.  They are in all reality a paid cheerleader for the natural gas industry, join me Gene…rah rah rah…gooooo… Chesapeake.

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Frankly, if the industry wants to truly be successful they would embrace the ideas that I bring forward, which is doing business in a respectful and responsible manner.  I find that in every presentation I give, there are always a few who show up that have read the propaganda and are looking for a fight.  However, after listening to my message it is apparent that I am not some anti-drilling wacko and the picture that has been painted of me is inaccurate, and it is always nice to hear that they agree with my points before they leave.

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Everyone knows that the industry has an ugly baby, except for the industry themselves.  I know it must be difficult to admit your baby is ugly, but like they say about alcoholics, you must first admit you have a problem before you can move on.  Instead this industry continues to deny their baby is ugly.

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There is really no doubt for anyone who has accomplished even a small amount of research that there is certainly a downside to this industry.  If this downside is not mitigated in some manner we will be looking at a mess that will need to be cleaned up down the road when all of these companies are long gone.  As history has shown us, these companies are typically nowhere to be found when it comes time to clean up the mess.  That cleanup project is left for the citizens and taxpayers, not the companies who made billions making the mess.  The industry will outsource this cost to the hard working American people, just as they try to do for all of their costs.

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The industry wants us to believe that they are a fledgling industry who cannot afford to take simple measures needed to make the shale plays a win-win situation.  I think that most of us know that this industry spends billions lobbying to prevent them from being mandated to do it right.  Therefore, they could and should do this process more responsibly and respectfully.

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They are picking the pockets of the citizens of Pennsylvania, who will be paying for the mistakes made by their elected officials for many years to come.  This state is one of two that have oil and gas activities, and do not have a severance tax for the minerals.  They pay this tax in every other state, and will gladly pay it in Pennsylvania, but continue to lobby for the outsourcing of their costs to the taxpayers.  This could be billions when it is all said and done, but as it stands, the billions will come from hard working Pennsylvania taxpayers.

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Every location that has natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania has something in common, and that is destroyed roads.  Instead of being the good neighbor we keep hearing about, they outsource the cost of the road repair to the taxpayers.  However, these small communities simply can’t afford to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars in road repairs; therefore, the citizens in these areas drive on destroyed roads, worse than I have ever seen.  If the natural gas industry wanted to improve their image, they should embrace a severance tax in Pennsylvania, instead of chasing me around the country.

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As the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico shows, we are one wrong move from a catastrophic event.  As any good Texan does, I really enjoy my gulf shrimp.  Unfortunately, thanks to the reckless actions of this industry, it will likely be several years before I can enjoy it again.  That is not the bad part though; the bad part is that something similar will happen here before this is over.  It is only a matter of time before we have that catastrophic event somewhere in one the shale plays.  However, in the shale plays they have put this hazardous activity in school yards and neighborhoods.  So guess what is going to happen when the catastrophe happens here?  There will be a lot of dead people.

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The last editorial written by Gene the “propaganda machine” Powell himself, was entitled “All Hat and No Cattle” (http://www.barnettshalenews.com/documents/2010/TillmanEditorialAllHat4-27-2010.pdf).  I must admit that I do not have any cattle.  However, I would like to have cattle, but I am afraid they would die or abort their calves, like they do in the small town of Clearville, PA, home of Clearville Gas Storage.  In this area the hard working Americans have to purchase their own filtration system to take the high levels of arsenic out of their well water.  Most of the surface and ground water has been contaminated by this reckless industry in Clearville, PA.

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As one of my new friends in Pennsylvania said, I am the new villain for the industry extremists.  They rally around the Powell Newsletter, which gives me an entire section of every issue.  Whatever happens, they blame me for their problems.  If a large landowner refuses to sign a one sided lease, it will be my fault.  If a community demands that the industry be responsible, it is that Calvin Dewayne Tillman’s fault.  When people rally around the idea of a fair and equitable severance tax…yep, you guessed it…Calvin’s fault.  It has nothing to do with the industry that has contaminated dozens of private water wells in Pennsylvania, and is destroyed air quality and property values wherever they have been, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.  It has nothing to do with the industry that outsources its cost to the taxpayers, while its executives make hundreds of millions dollars in bonuses.  Nope, those things have no influence on public perception.  It is only that mayor of DISH; Calvin Dewayne Tillman, that causes all of this grief for the natural gas industry.

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If the industry would be responsible and respectful, instead of searching out a new way to attack me, they would be much better off.  However, it appears the more they attack me, the more people come to see what the big deal is.  As bad as they hate it, every presentation that I give is to a packed house.  Furthermore, I find dozens more who want me to speak in their town.  People want to know the truth through eyes of someone that has lived it, not a paid cheerleader.  I truly wish the industry would do the smart thing and let me help them become responsible and respectful.  However, they are going to continue to be the irresponsible bully, blaming me for all of their problems.

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Mr. Powell is right on another matter; I have no shortage of arrogance against this industry.  Maybe it was my Oklahoma raising, or the fact that my parents would not allow me to stand by while a bully ran over those too passive to defend themselves, but I am not afraid of this industry and certainly will not be deterred by their personal attacks.  Frankly, seeing this fear that has been struck in these industry extremists keeps me going, when my energy has run out.  You should see the looks on their faces, when I walk over and shake their hand.  So I hope Mr. Powell and the extremists keep “Poking the Bear”, regurgitating the same propaganda, because in the end, that may be what forces them to be respectful and responsible, and hopefully those companies that choose not to will perish.  God bless.

Calvin Tillman
Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640

“Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it”

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I am not sure what planet Mr. Triebe is from, natural gas is odorless, until an odorant is added to it. The Town of Dish has had the odorizing units removed from these sites located here because they were so noxious. Tell him to come back to town and breathe deeper. Six people have died of cancer surrounding this site in the last 2 years.

Public school funding is a battle in every state election in Texas, because our school property taxes are the highest taxes that we pay here. Mr. Triebe needs to buy a home here and get some of his free schoolin’, at tax paying time.

I have raised 5 children here, ages 19 to 29, all but the one U.S. Marine fighting in Afghanistan, have attended college. No one in Denton is giving away free college to the youth of the Barnett Shale.

The average locomotive for a freight train has a 1,250 horse power engine, can you hear one of those, Mr. Triebe? The compressors in the Town of Dish are as much as 3,550 horse power. And there are 11 of them. Are you stone deaf?

We have documented daily sound readings of 80 to 125 db. 85 db is the level of a gas lawn mower at full throttle. 110 db is front row at a rock concert. 120 db is the human pain threshold.

The issue with a gas pipeline buried across your property is once this 24 or 36 inch pipeline is buried there, you can not do anything with the property for 25 to 50 feet either side of it. You cannot build or develop the land in any way, No buildings, No structures. No roadways. And no one is going to buy it from you,either. Of course if it leaks all of your worries will be over, permanently.

I grew up in the oil field. My father has been honored as an oil field pioneer. The oil and gas business is a dirty, filthy and loud business.

There are some new drilling rigs designed to be quieter and somewhat less of a pain, but those are one in a million, at this time.

I am not against the oil and gas industry, exactly the opposite! I am against the way some operators are performing in the industry. We have had some operators come to town and work very hard to work with us. And I am proud of them for their efforts. And we have others that are trying to kill us and our children, for their profit.

Sincerely,

Bill Sciscoe
Town Commissioner, Dish Texas

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Dear Mr. Graves,

I received a copy of your article, “DISH, Texas Is Not So ‘Despicable,’ Colchester Town Council Is Told” from un-naturalgas.org.

I am a retired Ch. E. and physicist who lives in Fort Worth, TX. I am also a well informed student of the gas industry and horizontal drilling. Mr. Triebe’s story contains a number of errors.

* He didn’t stay in a motel in downtown Fort Worth, because there are none in downtown Fort Worth. If he will provide the name of the HOTEL he stayed in I will check to see if there is a drill site nearby.
* Actually, the source of most of the pollution in DISH (about 30 miles up the road) is the megacomplex of compressor stations, as well as pipelines, metering stations, gathering lines and gas wells–not just gas wells in DISH.
* There is no new development “across the road” from DISH.
* I’ve been to DISH several times, and you can hear the compressors and smell the petroleum odor there. No one, including the TCEQ, disputes the emissions there. The contaminants have been found in the air, the well water, and in residents’ urine and blood. No one disputes it.
* Someone told Mr. Triebe a lie about school taxes and college tuition. Was he being shown around by the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council director, Ed Ireland, Ph. D. (formerly of Enron)?

You’ll probably hear from others in this area who have read your article today. I hope so.

Jerry Lobdill
Fort Worth, TX

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As I start my second tour of the Marcellus Shale, there has been a great deal of conversation surrounding my first trip to the area.   During this trip I spoke at 12 events to around 2, 000 people.  I felt that it was a great success and, and helped the citizens of this area learn about what they are about to experience when the natural gas boom begins.  I noticed at several events that there were those in attendance who were not interested in what I had to say.  They were present only to find an angle to dispute what I was saying.  Their minds were already made up and did not wish to be confused with the facts.

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Some have blamed the problems that we have faced in DISH on me personally.  And though I do bear some responsibility, most of the gas exploration activities took place prior to the town being formed, and certainly prior to me becoming mayor.   Also, we must not forget that with the compressor sites the local municipalities have very little control over their actions.  But that perspective really misses the point.  The point is that we were only told of the good things of the natural gas boom, not the negative side effects.  I was hopeful to let the folks of the Marcellus know that there was more to this than what the landman and PR department tell you about.

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We have obstacles in DISH, but frankly we are much better off than many communities in the Barnett Shale, because I have fought for the rights of my citizens.  There are many communities that have bad air and water; we are the only ones that know it and are doing something about it.  We are united as a community and are making the most of a bad situation.  In the end, I may be forced to move my family out of this area, but I am making every decision as though we will live here forever.

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My competence to speak on the matter has also been brought up as well.  The main basis for this was that I had not taken to the time to read the 800 page document drafted by the State of New York’s environmental authorities.  Frankly, I find it very unlikely that anyone has read the 800 page document.  Some may have skimmed through it, but I am doubtful that anyone has read it.  Certainly, if they are not interested in what has happened under similar circumstances in other areas, they are not interested in reading 800 pages of regulations.

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There have also been those who have claimed to actually visit the town of DISH.  They are claiming that DISH is some sort of paradise here in the Lonestar state.  I am actually proud that they would say this about my community.  I have spent most of my free time for the last five years trying to save DISH.  I have gotten all five companies that have compressors, to install noise abatement, paint the facilities with neutral colors and install vegetation.  This facility looks nicer than those that are installed in other areas of the Barnett Shale.  However, even with these precautions, I am doubtful anyone would truly consider this a paradise, or want it in their backyard.  Again, we are making the best of a bad situation.

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Although the facility does have vast improvements over other facilities, the things you can’t see, hear or smell are the major problems.  Our air quality has been destroyed, and it is now confirmed that we are being exposed to the toxins in our air, and it is present in our water.  If the unsightliness of the site were all we had to worry about, we may be able to live with it.  However, if you cannot breathe the air, or drink the water, you pretty much live in a wasteland.

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There has been some new schools built when the natural gas prices were high and they had to raise taxes when the prices dropped.  I am not aware of any program that gives children in the area free college tuition.  All of my neighbor’s kids have gone through that phase and got no help for living in this area.  He is a mineral owner as well, so I am not sure who is telling Mr Triebe that.  I wish we could get them to clean the mess up, not worried about tuition.  If the kids are dying of leukemia, there isn’t going to be a need for college.

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What this argument really comes down to is money.  If money were not involved, everyone in the Marcellus would be saying…slow down.  It is those dollar signs that have people’s minds made up, and refusing to be confused with the facts.  They are taking the words of someone who gets paid to sell them on this idea, over a logical point of view that simply says…“take your time and do it right.”  I have never said don’t do it, only don’t do it unless you do it right.  This industry make enough money to do this right, however, as long there are those who will accept the status quo, they will not change.  If those who criticize me would in turn support my views, they may actually get reasonable drilling someday.  However, if they continue down the path that they are going, they will be saying that crazy mayor from Texas was right.  God bless.

Calvin Tillman
Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640

“Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it”

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In the March 24, 2010 issue of the Walton Reporter, published in Walton, NY, a report on the March meeting of the Colchester town board read as follows, in part:

Harry “Sonny” Triebe Sr., the owner of Sonny and Son Stone Company in Downsville told the Colchester Town council last week that he recently attended a convention in Texas and paid a visit to DISH, Texas, where the Barnett shale formation is being tapped for natural gas.  Triebe said his interest in the Texas community was piqued after the DISH mayor spoke about natural gas development at a recent meeting at Downsville Central School.

Mayor Calvin Tillman had been in the Southern Tier region to alert residents of the pitfalls that development of the Marcellus shale formation may result in and to provide recommendations and proposed regulations for dealing with developers.

Triebe, who is the brother-in-law of Colchester Supervisor Robert Homovich, said Tillman had said property values had gone down and DISH residents were unable to sell their homes.  “There’s a new development on the other side of the road from DISH,” Triebe said.  “He told us there was no building going on, that the market was despicable, that people couldn’t sell their homes.”

Triebe said the residents he spoke to said the value of their homes had gone down due to the placement of compressor stations and pipelines in their backyards, but, “The thing that makes these people unhappy is that they bought these homes five years ago, and this stuff went in three years ago, and the developer knew it was going to happen and didn’t tell them.”

Triebe also said he found no evidence of a smell emanating from the gas wells.  “We traveled all the way around DISH, Texas and I didn’t smell a thing, ” he said.  He said he also stopped his car alongside a compressor station, and “I didn’t hear a thing.”

Triebe also showed a picture of installed gas lines.  “(Tillman) showed us a picture of pipes all over the guy’s yard, does this look like a mess to you?”

Triebe also criticized Tillman for what he didn’t tell the concerned residents at the Downsville meeting.

“I found out that they pay no school taxes,” Triebe said, “and in the three-county area, their kids can go to college in Denton for the first year for free, and it’s all because of this gas drilling and the Barnett shale.”

Triebe said the motel he stayed at in downtown Fort Worth had a drilling rig in the backyard, as well.  “If you closed the window in the room we were in, you heard nothing,” he added.

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On April 17, 2010, Calvin Tillman, mayor of Dish, Texas, and Texas citizen & landowner Tim Ruggiero address an audience in Clearville, PA as part of Tillman’s return visit to NY & PA, 4/15-19

Must-see:  Spectra Energy Watch’s blog  -  “Two Texans Share Shale Gas Experience”

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The continuous air monitor is now up and running in DISH.  It is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  I am thrilled of this development, and this is a real victory for the citizens of this community.  You may see the data at the link below, and please spread the word.

Calvin Tillman
Mayor, DISH, TX

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