Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My future in DISH

It is with great difficulty that I post this message.

There have been many of you that have supported me through our battle to save this tiny community. Some of you have supported me for several years now. Some of you have donated to the town’s legal fees, and I appreciate that support. However, I am reaching my breaking point in the fight. On the surface it would appear that this tiny community has won the battle, and in many aspects that is accurate. We have greatly improved the noise level, the aesthetics, and apparently the air quality at the natural gas compressor site. If you were to look at many similar facilities throughout this area, you will find that we likely are home to one the nicest, if not the nicest compressor sites in the entire Barnett Shale. However, we are now starting to get some interesting water out of our water wells. There will be more on our water troubles soon. One thing that troubles me is that almost every night the levels spike in chemicals detected by continuous air monitor that coincides with the odor that we have grown accustomed to.

The continuous air monitor shows us that our air is not toxic and in some cases it is good. However, with the nightly spikes and odor issues, I still have concerns. When these odor events happen, I still get the same old scratchy throat and burning eyes that coincides with the odor. That is not the biggest problem that concerns me. The biggest problem that concerns me is that one of my children frequently is awakened with a nose bleed, an this also seems to coincide with the odor. The monitor shows spikes, but none of the things like benzene gets too elevated. It is possible that something that is not tested for is causing the nosebleeds, or maybe this is just coincidence, but it disturbs me nonetheless. Therefore, it is very likely that I will put my house on the market in the very near future to ensure my children's safety. It is very likely that this will cost me tens of thousands of dollars, but I this point I am considering cutting my losses and just moving on. It is very clear that our state agencies are only in existence to protect the industry, not the general public, so in my view it would be best to be somewhere that you do not need to count on these agencies for your protection.

It is unlikely that the house will sell, even at a bargain, and until it sells it will be my primary residence and therefore, I will remain the mayor of DISH. As long as I am the mayor of DISH, decisions will be made as though I will live here forever. I will do everything in my power to continue helping and supporting the citizens of this community. However, if by some miracle, someone was willing to purchase the property, I would then be forced to resign as mayor. This does not mean that I would walk away from this issue completely; it is just that I would not be able to be in the battle as an elected official, which may hurt my affectivity on the matter.

This option is not set in stone and we could still possibly go in a different direction. There are also a number of questions, such as where am I going to move? Is it worth buying property in Texas, knowing what I now know? How far will the commute be if I can find a place where there is confidence in the air and water quality? So this may or may not happen. It may be that we move into an apartment or a condo, and keep our primary residence in DISH, and just maintain an additional household until the air clears. But currently I am extremely concerned about the health of my children.

There are several things that must be accomplished prior to putting the house on the market, so it will likely be a while before it is listed. In the meanwhile I will be thinking about way that I can can stay involved in this issue. It is also very unlikely that I will be able to sell it for anywhere near what it should be worth. My home is modest, but it sits on six acres, is fenced for horses and has two horse barns. I will try to find comparable property outside of the Barnett Shale and compare to what mine will be on the market for. This may be a very good illustration of exactly how bad this activity can hurt property values, if not accomplished responsibly.

I tell you this so that there is no confusion when word gets out that my house in on the market. We have accomplished many things here in DISH; we have built a nice park, finished out our town hall building, and will soon have one of the nicest libraries in this area, and that will be tough to walk away from. I also have a wonderful group of citizens that have been extremely supportive, who I will fight for till the end. All of this talk may be for nothing, but I wanted all of the good people who have helped and supported me to know the story, before the nasty rumors begin. Thanks again for everything, and please know that I will not stop doing the things I am doing no matter what happens. Please feel free to share with others

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"


  1. Completely understandable, if tragic.

    Thank you so much for your selfless work, which has so often put you in the line of fire. I hope you stay involved. As someone who wasn't an environmentalist going into all this, you have a valuable role to play in explaining to other skeptics why the environmentalists are right about how rotten the system is and that our most basic rights are not being protected.

    Although it will make your situation more difficult, I also hope you agree not to sell your house to a family with children.

    You're what so many public officials should be. Thanks again.

  2. Someday people will look back and this letter and realize that all along you were telling the truth. I've always believed in the saying (no matter how accurate)by Native American Chief Seattle that "Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web-he does to himself." No longer does man do what he does to survive. He does what he does to become richer; afterall, we all know that man can survive on very little and be happy, plus love his neighbor as well.

    I wish you and your family the rightful happiness you all deserve. And may you all stay healthy enough to live life to the fullest.

  3. Your Honor, I mean that in its truest sense. We who live above the Marcellus owe you a debt of gratitude that could never be expressed - let alone paid. I have been deeply touched by your simply awesome efforts on behalf of us all. Your current situation points to what belongs at the heart of this battle but is too often ignored...
    Thank you Calvin.
    Good Luck & Best Regards

  4. Unfortunately, I don't think you will be the last person to move away from Texas because of the destruction of the environment: Texas oil and gas interests are in the process of ruining the environment in our state. Because of the greed of the gas and oil people and citizens who choose to ignore the consequences of their uncontrolled operations, the quality of life for many people in Texas has either been ruined or is doomed. We in the Argyle-Bartonville area are in danger of becoming Dish II. It is heartbreaking that such things can happen in the United States of America. Too many people have chosen to ignore the long term negative consequences of gas drilling which are the poisoning of our air and water. When they finally wake up, it will be too late.