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”

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.

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.

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%.