Up In the Air

I made an announcement shortly after Memorial Day weekend, that I would be putting my home in DISH on the market.  This decision was made by my family after several instances of both of my children having nosebleeds during the night.  These nosebleeds correlated with strong odors and spikes in the chemicals being emitted by the natural gas compression station a quarter mile from our home.  We are still planning on putting our home on the market by the end of August.  This is a tough decision, but to ensure the safety of my family, it is something that I will do.
A year ago, you essentially could not be outside for more than a couple of hours without being forced into your home by the noxious odors.  In the few months prior to Memorial Day the odor events were limited to the late evening/early morning timeframe and happened a few nights a week for a couple of hours.  After the Memorial Day incident, the TCEQ brought a canister for me to keep at my home for instances of the strong odor, I still have this canister.  There have been periodic odor events over the past couple of months; however, they now only last for a brief time.  By the time I get the canister ready to take the sample, the odor is gone.  Unfortunately, my air conditioning system sucks the odor in the house, and the odor sometimes lingers longer inside than outside.  So over the past year, the situation has improved tremendously.  Is it enough? I am not sure.
This announcement got a great deal more attention than I had anticipated.  I had to make sure that those who know me and support me, knew why I was making this decision.  I did not want everyone to find out when the for sale sign went up.  There have been a flurry of media stories that have been taken by some to suggest that I will be resigning as mayor and moving from DISH immediately.  Another report actually had me being forced out, which was wishful thinking for some.  I have a great group of citizens here in DISH that have been extremely supportive of me and know that I will support and defend them to the end, and it will be difficult should I end up leaving.  I will be better about keeping everyone in the loop so there are no misunderstandings of my intentions.
When me and my wife made the decision to put our home on the market, we had seen both of our children having several massive nosebleed during the night.  These nosebleeds coincided with the strong odor that filled our community.  At this point we contemplated moving immediately and figuring things out after that.  Since that time neither of my children have nosebleeds at that level and only a few minor nosebleeds and none at night.  So we are not the motivated sellers we once were.  However, do to the continuing problems and little faith in our regulatory agencies, we will be putting the house on the market.  Like most anyone reading this, we can not put it on the market tomorrow.  For the past 3 years I have worked around 80 hours a week and therefore the home has been neglected.  So there are several projects that were half completed, and need to be finished before we can market it.  I am not anticipating a big market for the home, but if by some miracle it should sell, I would then have to resign as mayor, but not a minute before.  I will likely not leave it on the market indefinitely either, it will sell, or it will not.
Every time that I have given either the operators or the regulatory agencies a pat on the back, something bad immediately happens.  So it may be foolish, but I have some level of optimism currently about this facility.  Several things have been accomplished to make this a better facility, and I am certain that no other facility has as many controls in place as this one does.  But with the massive size of the facility, I am not sure if it can be…good, just better than the others.  I am sure there is more than one photo of me on a break room dartboard, and I am also sure these companies have unwillingly spent a great deal of money, but the conditions have improved greatly for the citizens of this community.
Some were also led to believe that I would simply disappear from DISH, and from this matter all together, which again is wishful thinking.  Whether I live in DISH breathing chemicals, or somewhere out of this area, I will always be involved in this subject in some capacity.  In the next couple of month, I will be making an announcement about part of what will be in my future.  For the past five years this has taken up a great deal of my time, and we have somewhat been the poster child of what can happen to a community.  Therefore, it is impossible for me to simply walk away.  As always I thank those who have supported me through this decision.
As always, please pass this on or post on your blogs or websites.
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”

Gas and Taxes

Pennsylvania and New York are the only two oil and gas producing states which don’t levy a severance
tax. In Texas (the Barnett Shale) they don’t have a state income tax thanks to their severance tax and in
Alaska not only do they not have a state income tax but every resident gets an annual check.
Pennsylvanians may not be able to secure the same benefits as Texas or Alaska but why wouldn’t we
want to get something out of this?
Having a Severance tax in place is of the utmost importance. Without one we are left to deal with these
questions. Should the highly profitable gas industry or Pennsylvania’s tax payers foot the bill for proper
monitoring and inspections? What about the damage to our roads, contaminated well water and
pollution to our beautiful streams and forests? Who should reap the most benefit from Pennsylvania’s
natural gas – outside speculators or its citizens? Is there a reasonable alternative to a severance tax for
achieving any of this? The gas industry pays as little as it can for our gas, shouldn’t we be
taxing their profits at the highest rate we can? Isn’t the Marcellus Shale, and more importantly the land
and people above it, worth just as much as the Barnett Shale?

Most of us are aware that Pennsylvania has not enacted a Severance tax yet. If your not familiar with this issue or have not looked into it for a while then this should help get you updated on it
The Pennsylvania Legislature is debating whether the state should levy a severance tax on the extraction of natural gas to help reimburse state and local governments for environmental, infrastructure, and societal costs imposed by the industry. Until recently, Pennsylvania has had a modest natural gas extraction industry…. One of the central claims of critics regarding the proposed tax is that it is unneeded as drillers here “face the highest corporate tax rate in the nation.” A closer look at the evidence shows that this is not the case for most companies. In fact, the drillers of more than 70% of the wells in the Marcellus Shale will pay the state’s 3.07% Personal Income Tax (PIT) rather than the 9.99% Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT).i The following table lists all companies with permits to operate wells in the Marcellus Shale and highlights the firms that are paying the lower PIT rate. ….
To read the rest of this report and view the table, click here:

http://pennbpc.org/sites/pennbpc.org/files/Over 70 Percent of Marcellus Shale Wells Pay PIT.pdf

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

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.

Gases escaping from natural gas tanks in Texas

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/15/business/energy-environment/15degrees.html?emc=eta1

I know a couple of you were asking about the air pollution issues that come up with natural gas drilling. Here is an article from the NY Times  with some nice pictures of what the naked eye cannot see, but it’s there.

The sealing of these leaks by the companies that have them might be a big help in attempts to stall climate change, as well as offer cleaner air for folks who live near this well tanks.

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