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”

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”

Who the Heck is Calvin Tillman?

Calvin Tillman is the unpaid mayor of a very small town called Dish, a grid of modest homes on the north Texas plane. Calvin is an authentic American hero. Like the heros those old Westerns we grew up with, Calvin is the guy who doesn’t want a fight but turns out to be very good at it.
Calvin and the town of Dish have, by their persistence, changed the conversation on gas drilling in the entire state of Texas.  Dish is admittedly an extreme example. Besides being ringed with gas wells, it is transected by a number of major pipelines and has a large complex of gas compressor plants on its border.
The compressors run 24/7/365 emitting noise, light, and vapors. Occasionally, when unacceptable pressure builds in the pipelines, the compressor facility will blow off large amounts of methane into the air with the sound of a jet taking off.
Texas allows public domain seizure for pipelines.  The many pipelines feeding the compressors cross private property rendering it unfit for future development.
The cumulative effect of the gas industry on the residents and their property values has caused Calvin, their mayor, to refer to Dish as a Sacrifice Zone.
Calvin became concerned about the health effects of gas industry vapors. Besides the unpleasant smells, trees and animals were dying and some residents complained about a number of growing health problems.
Calvin asked the industry and the Texas regulatory agencies to study the problem but  received little help. Worried and frustrated, the town council authorized spending ten percent of its yearly budget to commission their own independent professional study.
The results weren’t good. Benzine, a carcinogen, was found at high concentrations on or near private property as was hydrogen sulfide, a neurotoxin. One state environmental official equated it to sniffing a gas can.
Thanks to the Dish study, state officials are beginning to focus on the issue of unregulated emissions from the gas industry. The Dish study confirmed the concerns raised by Professor Al Armendariz at Southern Methodist University whose  work showed that the gas industry in north Texas was responsible for as much ozone and smog as all the cars, trucks and airports in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area, 6.3 million people.
Calvin Tillman not only has concerns, he offers solutions. Much of the air quality issue can be mitigated with inexpensive, off the shelf technology.
Calvin Tillman, 7:30 pm, Friday, April 30th
Genetti Hotel, West 4th Street, downtown Williamsport
FREE admission sponsored by: Responsible Drilling Alliance and Freshlife
Calvin Tillman is not being compensated for either his talk or his travel

Upcoming Events-Calvin Tillman and Josh Fox

APRIL 30TH

CALVIN TILLMAN
MAYOR OF DISH, TEXAS WILL BE IN WILLIAMSPORT
7:30 IN THE GENETTI BALLROOM
WHAT GAS EXPLORATION HAS MEANT TO HIS TOWN
AND WHY THAT IS IMPORTANT TO US
MAY 11TH
GASLAND
JOSH FOX WILL BE HERE TO PRESENT
HIS AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILM
7:30 AT THE COMMUNITY ARTS CENTER, WILLIAMSPORT

JOSH FOX’S CROSS COUNTRY ODYSSEY TO DISCOVER

HOW LEASING HIS PENNSYLVANIA LAND WOULD AFFECT ITS FUTURE
Both events are free and open to the public and are brought to you by the
Responsible Drilling Alliance
Calvin Tillman’s appearance co-sponsored by Freshlife

Calvin Tillman’s speaking schedule

*April 15, 2010  2.00 p.m. in room 201CS on the second floor of the Cooper
Union’s new building at 41 Cooper Square, Manhattan NY. *
**
*April 16, 2010  7:00 PM Philadelphia, PA, Temple University 1947 N 12th
St.
*
*April 17, 2010  7:00 PM Pleasant Union Church 259 Pleasant Union Church
Road Clearville, PA 15535

April 18, 2010  4:00 PM , Midway Community Center, 304 Noblestown Road,
Midway, PA 15060*

*April 19, 2010  2:00 PM in Pappert Hall in the Bayer Learning Center, at
Duquesne University, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15282.
*
Calvin Tillman
Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640

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.

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.