Calvin Tillman’s Letter to the Editor

Here is a lettor to the Editor written by Calvin Tillman, the Mayor of Dish, Texas

What happened to conservative values?   It has been very disappointing to see our conservative values continue to dwindle under the pressure from large corporations.  In Texas our politicians talk conservative values right up to the point where they fail to follow them.  Two foundation pieces of conservatism, are property rights and the free market system.  In Texas, our “conservative” politicians have taken away both from the average Texan.  You are allowed to enjoy your property, as long a corporation or someone with more money doesn’t want it.  This used to be a state where you could move out in the rural areas, buy a piece of land, and live in peace.  Now if you move to the country to have some property, you are an immediate target for a corporation to take your land, or make it unlivable.    The prime example of this is the oil and gas industry.  The State of Texas has taken away most of the rights that pertain to land ownership from the citizens and given it to these large corporations.  One glaring example is the natural gas pipeline midstream companies, which have been given the tremendous power of eminent domain.  These are private, for profit companies that have been awarded all the power of government to condemn property.  This not only takes away property rights, but it destroys the free market system that allows for a property owner to negotiate in good faith for the use of their property.  Instead the private property owners are immediately subjected to threats and intimidations.  Due to these companies being for profit, it is in their best interest to obtain the easement and install the pipeline as cheap as possible, and they use whatever tactic necessary to achieve this.  Therefore, private property owners are paid a fraction of the value of the land and not compensated for associated property damage.  This is not limited to the active drilling areas, due to pipelines being installed all over the state.      Another example is what is known as forced pooling.  It has many names and variations, but again it is another method to transfer private property rights to large corporations.  This again takes away the requirement to negotiate in good faith from the private property owner for their mineral properties.  In Texas the minerals are the dominant property right, so the surface owners have little input on what happens to their property.  However, under forced pooling, the energy companies can even take your minerals without your consent.  This again takes away private property rights and undermines the free market system.  The private property owner also has no protection if something goes wrong in the process.  Therefore, these corporations can take your property without your consent, destroy it, and the only recourse is a lawsuit that may cost the private property owner tens of thousands of dollars.      I have seen other “conservative” states like Pennsylvania following the Texas policy of destroying private property rights, and not allowing private citizens to enjoy their property investments.  I would urge the other states to not do it the “Texas Way”.  In Texas it is only worth owning property, if you are willing to concede that you have no right to enjoy that property.  So you must ask yourself if that is what you want for the citizens of your state?  Private property rights and free market system are the values that are important to the “Average Joe” trying to live the American Dream, let’s not continue to destroy this.
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”

Natural Gas: Not as clean as you think

Just in case you’ve seen the television ads being run by ANGA (America’s Natural Gas Alliance) and think they are telling you the whole story….here’s some of the other side.

http://wilderness.org/content/natural-gas-not-clean-you-think

Gas drilling using best management practices

From the Resposible Drilling Alliance:
The Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project has published a best management practices guide for their state’s oil and gas development. This could be a model for state’s newly under pressure for unconventional shale drilling – like Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.
According to this guide,

“The challenge facing Texas now is not whether to increase fossil fuel production — energy companies are already on a record-setting pace as they accelerate development.
Rather, the challenge facing us today is how to protect our landowner rights, clean water, air and public health in the face of rapid energy development…


To read the article , click here:

http://earthworksaction.org/publications.cfm?pubID=444

To read the publication on best oil & gas development practices in Texas, click here: http://earthworksaction.org/pubs/Drill_Right_Texas_FINAL.pdf

Mayor of Dish, TX to speak in Elmira, NY.

The  Mayor of Dish, TX, Calvin Tillman,  will be in Elmira Heights this Saturday, Feb 20th to speak out about the air and water contamination problems they are having and have had in Dish due to natural gas drilling in the Barnett Shale.

The presentation will be held from 8:30am to 10:55am and has been relocated to the Heights Theater at 210 E. 14th Street in Elmira Heights. It is free and open to the public.

Refracking wells?

In an Q and A interview in the Williamsport Gaurdian, Richard Adams , a spokesman for Chief Oil and Gas said—
“Re-fracking is not a common event in the Barnett or any other shale field at this time and I would not expect it to be common in the Marcellus at any point in the future.”

If this were true, it would be a good thing.

If a well is only fracked once, then the number of fracks would equal the number of wells but if wells are refracked every few years the number of fracks grows exponentially larger than the well count.
Each refrack uses more water than the last, 25% more is the given figure.  Each refrack generates a new load of highly contaminated waste water. Each refrack restresses the well casings with 6000 to 8000 pounds per square inch of pressure.  Each refrack invites the danger of surface contamination by spilled or leaked concentrated chemicals.

When some folks in the Barnett Shale area of Texas were asked if Adam’s statement was true they gave these replies.

“Baloney!  I don’t have time to find references now but they are available. They don’t have to get a permit so no one really keeps track but it’s common knowledge.”

“Chk (Chesapeake) has told folks they plan to refrack many times over the life of the reserves..like every 3 or 4 years.”

“If they are on the lease side trying to say you will make lots of money…,and they refrack When they are talking about the environmental side, they say the opposite.”

“FALSE.  One of the pad sites near my home is refracked regularly due to several wells on the site. The frack trucks are also a common site on the highway. Ubiquitous is the word.”

“Absolutely they will refrack  and have already at many wells. The Industry folks I talked to relayed the probability of  every 3 to 5 years  depending on the well.”
And here’s what the industry has to say about it.

“It has been established that only 10% of GIP [gas in place] is recovered with the initial completion. Refracturing the shale can increase the recovery rate by an additional 8% to 10%. Simple reperforation of the original interval and pumping a job volume at least 25% larger than the previous frack has produced positive results in vertical shale wells.”

source:  Halliburton. Jan. 2007. “Developing Gas Shale Reserves .“ Advances in Unconventional Gas. A Hart Energy Publication. p. 28.
Focus on the Marcellus Shale By Lisa Sumi
FOR THE OIL & GAS ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT/
EARTHWORKS, MAY 2008
According to Halliburton, an oil and gas service company:
It is important to note that a well drilled in the Marcellus shale may have to be fracked several times over the course of its life to keep the gas flowing, and that each fracking operation may require more water than the previous one.

From a Devon investor report: (Devon is one of the major gas exploration companies in the Barnett shale)

In addition to the refracs, we have also drilled and completed several wells on 250-foot spacing rather than the 500-foot spacing that our existing proved reserves are based on. If the early success of the first several wells drilled on 250-foot spacing continues, there may be substantial additional reserves to be recognized in the Barnett Shale over the coming years.

Our gas drilling in the Barnett Shale and Selma Chalk continues to provide additional production and reserves as we continue to test the limits of each field, whether it is from down spacing, extending the limits of each field or refracking of existing wells. (emphasis added)

As an example of a successful refrac, Devon Energy has reported on a well from which production had declined from 2,000 mcfe/day to 500 mcfe/day after 4.5 years. A re-frac restored production to 1,600 mcfe/day initially, declining to 1,000 mcfe/day after 3 months, and has probably doubled the remaining reserves from this well.
I suppose this information speaks for itself.

Largest Private Clean Air Fund in Texas Bans Nat’l Gas Projects

Stating that “it’s become impossible to ignore the incongruity of the claims of a ‘cleaner’ natural gas industry, versus the facts on the ground in our own backyard,” the grassroots directors of the largest private clean air fund in Texas have voted to suspend consideration of any further anti-pollution grants promoting the use of the increasingly controversial fuel and voiced support for a regional moratorium on new gas drilling….

… it’s become impossible to ignore the incongruity of the claims of a “cleaner” natural gas industry, versus the facts on the ground in our own backyard. Among the most important of those facts are:

1) The natural gas industry is poorly regulated.
2) The gas industry is adding to local air pollution problems.
3) The gas industry is consuming and contaminating large quantities of water.
4) The gas industry is abusing private property rights.

Could this be Pennsylvania in  few years?
To read the full article, click here:

http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=0011-u4wRWTE7TQUNuwD0BlMyMjUJwF130yNEAAQBxmklz9AdoTvSlsUAegNg2cypcqJ_cI3Rx2fHV6NKZTwiB-vnUfTVdIEfjMLQMsbc9L71YAW0Y7uDQsU71ZZCvt_C-C

The Dish on the air quality in Dish, TX

http://earthworksaction.org/publications.cfm?pubID=439

Check out Earthworks at this link to see the survey results for the health of the residents in Dish, TX.

Under-used Drilling Methods are Possible-Greener Fracking?

http://www.propublica.org/feature/underused-drilling-practices-could-avoid-pollution-1214

A good read from Propublica. The discussion of safer and “greener” drilling chemicals is on the rise and so is research that shows these other methods do work. And of course some parts of the industry will fight this tooth and nail while others have embraced it and some are already putting it into action. There is an intersting quote at the end of this long article.

“No matter what we do we are capitalists here in the U.S.,” said Richard Haut, the Houston Advanced Research Center project director. “We do have to look for a balance between environmental issues and development.”

of course capitalism is playing it’s role…and we are playing ours as stewards of our resources, water and homes.

Cancer-causing toxin found in air near gas facilities

Here’s some info from the responsible Drilling Alliance in PA.

11:16 AM CDT on Friday, October 30, 2009    By CHRIS HAWES / WFAA-TV

FORT WORTH — Drilling for natural gas began to take off in the Barnett Shale around 2002, when there were nearly 2,000 wells.

Since then, that number has grown to more than 12,000 wells. So, many might wonder which government agency has been testing the air at each of those sites to check for any potentially harmful elements in the air.

The answer is: No one.

Now, for the first time, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is conducting a Barnett Shale air quality study. The results have surprised the highest levels of the commission.

http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa091029_mo_drilling.2669d39e4.html#

http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa091030_wz_benzene2.26be63b79.html#

http://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent/dws/drc/localnews/westdenton/stories/DRC_Dish-Report_1030.267021ddb.html#

It is worth a few minutes of your time to click on the links above, especially the top one and view the video.  The city government in Fort Worth went gung ho into drilling inside the city. They have allowed Chesapeake among others to drill in city parks, neighborhoods, and near schools.   I mention Chesapeake because of their presence here.

This issue came up over a year ago and the mayor and city council in FW turned aside the concerns of a noted researcher and took the side of the industry. Now they are acting surprised.

Air pollution from gas drilling can be greatly reduced in the same way it was greatly reduced in automobiles by capture and reuse. It is inexpensive to do and can even turns a bit of a profit.

Why don’t they do it?  Because no one makes them.  We have 50 companies drilling here and good regulations are the only way to avoid what is happening in Texas.  If regulations are in place as the industry ramps up here, they can be factored it in and not present us with a fight later on to force an expensive retrofit. Best for everyone.

Will our DEP be able to do the job? Not likely when they are overwhelmed with water issues from gas drilling and have had their budget cut 27%.

The Frac Act

This link will take you to a site that is tracking the Frac Act. You can go there now and then and see exactly where this bill stands and that very little has happened with it since it was introduced in June 2009.

http://www.govtrack.us/users/events.xpd?monitors=bill:s111-1215

The Frac Act is a set of bills that would help regulate and control the oil and gas drilling industries ability to bypass the Safe Water Drinking Act, The Clean Air Act and give the EPA the power to make regulations about the process of hydraulic fracturing. For more info you can check out these links.

http://www.propublica.org/feature/frac-act-congress-introduces-bills-to-control-drilling-609

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-1215

The Senate met on Nov. the 9th and the House meets on Nov. the 16th regarding this bill. If you are concerned with the loopholes that currently exist, which allow the gas and oil industry to get away with water pollution and well contamination (amongst other things) please contact your Senators and Congressmen about this importance of the Frac Act. Remember that this bill needs to go into action on a federal level (and is being voted on as such) so contact your federal representatives about it, not state.

 

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