Friday, January 29, 2010

Town Of DISH Paypal Account

Due to several requests, the Town of DISH has opened a paypal account for online donations. It is our official email address townofdish@yahoo.com. Again thanks to everyone for their help.

A donate button is added to the left side of the screen that will take you directly to paypal. This will allow you to donate directly to the Town of DISH. These donation will go directly to the town's legal fees. This will not go to me or any other cause. Thanks for everyone's support.

Thanks

I would like to thank everyone who pitched and helped me out making phone calls and sending emails yesterday. I also appreciate the many suggestions that were sent my way. The public information request was made several months ago, and we had already worked through many of the issues that were brought up by everyone with our municipal attorney, which is one of the best attorneys I have seen or heard about. However, in making sure that we complied with every letter of the law, we were forced to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The documents and the format was agreed upon and sent by the town to the Texas Pipeline Association's attorney in December. They are in possession of all the documents requested. Our legal position is very clear, and I likely should not share any more of our legal position. The latest threat seems to only have one thing in mind, and that is to cost us more money. If they file suit against us, or file a complaint with the Attorney General, it will cost us thousands more in legal fees, which we can not afford. They are looking to make an example out of myself and this small community for daring to challenge them, and would like to send a message to others who might try to take them on.

One message became clear yesterday is that many people wanted to donate to help in our legal expenses. Although, I would never solicit donations, the town has and will accept donations. We actually got some unsolicited donations for our air study. At any time you may send a donation to the DISH town hall at:

5413 Tim Donald Rd.
DISH, TX 76247

In addition we will be setting up a paypal account to facilitate online donations, which I will share when it is complete. Again, I am not soliciting donations for the town, however, if you feel the need, we can accept them. Please make any checks payable to the Town of DISH. Please do not make checks payable to me, or even address donations to me. All donations will go towards the Town of DISH's growing legal fees. Thanks again for all of your help.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Threat?

Many of you have told me to let them know if ever needed your help. Well, I could use your help at the moment. As you may have noticed I have become a lightening rod for personal attacks from our friends in the natural gas industry. The latest is that they are accusing me of not providing the information that they asked for in a public information request to the town of DISH. Please know that I completely cooperated with their request.

The only thing that I questioned with the request was that they were asking for personal medical information from the citizens of DISH. Of course they only wished to use this information to vilify the very citizens that they are poisoning. So, I questioned the legality of their request, like any good mayor would do. However, from the latest letter they are threatening to file suit against the town and file a complaint with the attorney general.

We have been more than cooperative with with those in the Texas Pipeline Association, who made this public information request. What they are trying to do is come of with frivolous allegations, to run up the legal fees for our community. As with with everything that I have done thus far, I am only trying to protect the citizens of this community, and I will not back down. I have long ago quit worrying about myself, and now only worry about my family and my citizens. I need your support.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lon Burnham's Comments.

I didn't ask for Lon Burnham to come to my defense, but it is appreciated.

http://www.fwbusinesspress.com/display.php?id=11800

Chairman Carrillo's Comments

Please see link for Chairman's Carrillo's comments on my visit to the Railroad Commission of Texas. He issued some personal attacks, but I doubt anyone is surprised by that. Sounds just like the the industry insiders.


http://www.texasalliance.org/admin/assets/Carrillo-Barnett_Drilling_Moratoria.pdf

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Experience With The Texas Railroad Commission

Just want to give my impression of testifying before the Railroad Commission of Texas. If you have read my comments to them that I have also posted here, you can see that I was was pretty critical of them and their organization. Therefore, they got a little testy after my opening statements, and frankly, I don't blame them.


It became apparent that the 3 members of the commission had been fully briefed on myself, and the situation in DISH by the industry. They also clearly did not reach out to me for my input on the situation, prior to me testifying. This shows that they are responsible only to the industry that they regulate, not the people who have to live with their poor decision making. To make matters worse, the line of questioning came directly from the press release that was released by the attorney for the Texas Pipeline Association. I must admit that I have no shortage of arrogance, but compared to this group, my arrogance is not even on the chart.


They initially began to question the qualification of our consultants. Which is exactly what the industry has done. However, both of our consultants are far more nationally recognized as being experts in the area of air quality and health effects, than anyone who works for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), or the Railroad Commission of Texas. Both are recognized as experts or geniuses, and are often called to serve on national committees on these subjects. I would suspect that no one from the state agencies mentioned have ever been asked to serve on anything at a national level.


There are some very sharp people who work for TCEQ, but they will likely be working for the industry soon. However, Mr. Carrillo did not do that research, before he questioned their qualifications, and therefore, makes himself look like a fool. I suspect that a jury would feel the same way; if we ever made it to that point the incompetence of these agencies would become very apparent. So they should likely be careful in what their chasing, cause they just may catch it.

Mr. Carrillo then proceeded to inform me that the massive airport located in DISH could be the cause of all of these problems. He further went on to tell me that all of the "crop dusters" located at this airport carried pesticides and toxins that could have lead to the results of the air study. I am not sure if you have ever visited Clark Airport here in DISH, but it is very apparent that neither Mr. Carrillo, or whoever it was that gave him the information has either. The airport has all of about ten aircraft housed there, with an average of one or two flights per day...not exactly DFW. In the seven years I have lived here, there has not been a crop duster, pesticides, or even aircraft fuel stored there. Not sure where they got there information, but it was wrong, and again they looked like fools.


They were also well aware of the findings that would soon be reported on the air samples taken in Fort Worth. And though when our results in DISH came out, everyone said that more testing was needed. I did not hear that from the TCEQ report of Fort Worth. It does not take a great deal of knowledge in the area of air testing to know that the conditions on the days the tests were taken in Fort Worth was not ideal to find anything. Further it is common knowledge that the compounds will not vaporize on cold days. I believe that most experts, would not have even bothered taking samples on days like this, unless they were working for the industry attempting to come up clean.

Apparently, TCEQ was not too confident in their work either, because someone in the organization found it necessary to put a disclaimer on the bottom of all slides showing lab results. This essentially says the results are not worth the paper they are written on. I am not sure what they were trying to accomplish, but it is clear that some one is grasping here. I wonder...why can't they just do the right thing and clean this mess up. Everyone knows these activities produce hazardous air pollutants. The EPA, TCEQ and the companies themselves have this top secret information posted everywhere in brochures and presentations. It would sure be easier on me, if these folks would start being the good neighbors, they brag about being. Instead they get a bunch of paid liers to spread garbage, and promise the moon.

So to summarize, the commissioners allowed me to say my piece and I appreciate that. However, I also think the travel to Austin to meet before the kangaroo court was a waste of my precious time. The industry can do it right, why they don't is beyond me. If something doesn't change soon, it won't matter where you live. The ambient air will be toxic enough to effect our health throughout the whole region. So much for moving to the country for the clean air.

Texas city sick because of natural gas pipeline?

Texas city sick because of natural gas pipeline?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman Comments to Railroad Commission of Texas January 12, 2010

I would like to thank the commission for allowing me to speak today on this very important subject. My name is Calvin Tillman, and I am the mayor of the small town of DISH, TX. I would like to give a brief statement and be available should you have any questions.

DISH is located in Denton County, about 30 miles directly north of downtown Fort Worth. As you well know we are in the epicenter of the Barnett Shale, one of the world's largest gas shales. The town of DISH is home to 180 citizens and makes up a geographic area of approximately two square miles, and we have an annual budget of around $ 70,000. We once made national headlines for changing the name of our community to DISH in exchange for free dish network. However, we recently made national news for the toxic air surrounding our community. In addition to being the home to free dish network, the town of DISH is also home to eleven high pressure natural gas transmission lines, eleven natural gas compressors, four metering stations, as wells as dozens of wells and gathering lines.

Texas has an immense history of oil and gas production. Deep into the history of the United States, Texas has supplied this country with these resources. The Barnett Shale adds to this deep tradition of energy production. Just a couple of years ago the Barnett Shale added 10 billion dollars and 100,000 jobs to this economy. With something of that magnitude, and so much at stake, we must do everything in our power to do it right. Currently, this industry is not doing it right, and the State of Texas is not forcing them to do it right.

As previously mentioned, the town of DISH is home to eleven natural gas compressors. These compressors are owned by five separate companies, and each of these companies independently permitted these sites; however, logistically and operationally, I believe this is one site. This site has caused concern for both the citizens of DISH and the municipal government. The current concern is the toxins and odor produced by this site.

We have been complaining about his odor for 18 months without any relief. Our complaints were to the operators as well as the state regulatory agencies, including the Railroad Commission of Texas. These complaints again led to know relief. Based on the complaints, the operators of this site performed an air study aimed at finding the source of this odor; or so they said. It really was designed to find nothing at all, and that is exactly what it did. This shows that these operators intentionally tried to mislead the members of this community. It is my believe that each of these companies, and the regulatory bodies over them, are fully aware of what toxins are omitted by these facilities, and attempted to hide this with the study they performed.

After this deceitful act the town of DISH was left with no other option but to perform its own study. Therefore, the town of DISH spent 15% of its tiny budget to have a comprehensive air study accomplished. This air study showed sixteen toxins above established effects screening levels, including benzene. Other toxins were 100 times the established effects screening levels. There have been other private studies and testing performed by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that has confirmed the presence of these toxins. For the past several years the citizens in our area have been forced to live with this state produced risk.
Please allow me to clarify that the effects screening levels are determined by occupational exposure. This is due to the fact that you are not supposed to be exposed to these toxins in your home. They are set on the thirty year old male, who is exposed to these toxins for eight hours a day and five days a week. Not the stay at home mom, elderly person, or infant child subject to this twenty four seven. I would argue that there is no safe levels for benzene or many other toxins detected in DISH for that matter.

It does not have to be this way. I believe that the natural gas industry can co exist with human life. However, the state of Texas needs to try something new...regulation. There are many small things that can be done to prevent sites such as the one in DISH from poisoning it neighbors. These things are not secrets, nor is it new technology that has not been tested. This technology is well known, and is mandated in many other states. Things known as green completions, vapor recovery, special valves and scrubbers can cut out over ninety five percent of these emissions.
Many of the same companies who have refused to use this technology in Texas, have not only used it in other states, but bragged on the amount of money they have saved by employing it. There are a number of presentations on the internet from these companies outlining their programs in other states. Many are partners in the EPA's natural gas star program.

So why not here? Why are these systems not used in the largest urban drilling environment in the world? Many of the leaders of this company have been quoted as saying that "they could not justify using this technology to its shareholders without it being mandatory". Therefore, this industry will do the right things only when mandated by regulation.

I have recently echoed others call for a moratorium on gas drilling in the Barnett Shale; however, I believe this should not only include drilling but all aspects of natural gas production, such as pipelines and compressors. This moratorium should be in place until we can guarantee the safety of those around these facilities. It is clear that we have a weakness in the current system of permitting these facilities. Therefore, it would benefit everyone to take a break, and review the current rules and regulations to determine if they are adequate. As previously stated, this is much to important for failure, and therefore it is time for us to do it right.

I further believe that this is needed to save this industry from its self, as well as the innocent citizens, which each of us swore to protect. If the current situation is left alone you will have the empirical evidence that everyone is looking for. There will be children with leukemia, high cancer rates, birth defects, and neurological problems. Who among you would like for that to happen on your watch? Who wants that to be their legacy they leave behind when you take up the rocking chair. This scenario has played out in many other places, and it has always ended the same...death and sickness.

What if we did it right here in Texas? What if we didn't wait for leukemia, and birth defects to begin trending upward in places like DISH or Fort Worth, which is home to 700,000 people, and is the largest urban drilling area in the world? We could stop the inevitable from happening here.

When I first agreed with the suggestions to have a moratorium, I heard many comments from industry insiders such as, let's turn off his power for thirty days and see how he likes the moratorium then. Many have also jokingly asked if I still start my own car. Please note that I am not some radical environmentalist who doesn't believe in any energy source, nor am I anti-drilling, or anti industry. I am a honest, hard working American who pays my taxes, and it does not take genius who live around this activity to see something is wrong. As one of the outspoken Town Commissioners in DISH said, "a blind hog could look at this compressor site and see something is wrong". We in the town of DISH have seen many benefits from this boom, and hope with some minor alterations to the current business practices this could be a win-win for everyone.

It is my understanding that this commission is considering sending a request to the Attorney General to determine if you have the power to not issue permits. First, I find this extremely disturbing that as those elected to regulate this industry you have to ask that question. Further, you have a legal staff at your disposal to help you make these decisions. If you cannot with hold a permit, what is the use in making them get a permit? This could certainly be looked at as a way to stall a decision by this commission. What is the use in having the Railroad Commission of Texas for that matter.

I believe as mayor of the town of DISH, that I could impose a moratorium and be within my legal rights to do so, based on the data collected there.

I believe you should impose the moratorium and let the industry tell you why you can't. If a moratorium were imposed, this industry would certainly be more agreeable to taking some of the minor measures that would alleviate some of these problems spoke about here today. You see the steps that have been taken in other states voluntarily, such a Chesapeake agreeing not to drill in the New York City watershed. I, as well as most of the people I represent, and talk to on this subject do not want this industry to go away, but simply want it to be responsible and respectful.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

DISH Mayor to speak before the Railroad Commission of Texas

I will be traveling to Austin to speak before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Tuesday January 12, 2009. This will be to discuss the recent calls for a moratorium on natural gas drilling due to potential health concerns. It is a shame that we have to come to this point, when the industry could take some small measures that could make this a much more desirable situation for all.

The Railroad Commission apparently does not know whether they can stop issuing permits, although they are the organization that grants permits. Therefore, they are proposing to write a letter to the Texas Attorney General for an opinion on whether they have the authority to not issue a permit. Does anybody admit to voting for these folks? This certainly smells like someone is trying to stall because they know it will take the attorney general six months to make a determination. Here are some stories that talk about the issue.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6806631.html

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/1874437.html?mi_pluck_action=comment_submitted&qwxq=905218#none

For Immediate Release: DISH TX Mayor Calvin Tillman to Speak at North Central Texas Communities Alliance Meeting

For Immediate Release: DISH TX Mayor Calvin Tillman to Speak at North Central Texas Communities Alliance Meeting

DISH Mayor to speak on Air Quality Issues, And Discusses The Calls For A Moratorium On Natural Gas Activity In The Barnett Shale

DISH, TX -- The results of a DISH, Texas municipal Ambient Air Quality Study recently revealed high concentrations of toxic air emissions, including neurotoxins and carcinogens, near and on residential properties in the small town of DISH, Texas. DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman has been asked to speak at the North Central Texas Communities Alliance meeting on January 13, 2010 to discuss this testing. Other items that will be discussed is a new policy implemented by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in the Barnett Shale. Mayor Tillman will also discuss the proposed moratorium on gas drilling throughout the Barnett Shale. This meeting was originally scheduled to be held on January 7, 2010; however, it was postponed due to bad weather.

DISH is located in the epicenter of the Barnett Shale gas play and is home to a megacomplex of compressor stations, as well as pipelines, metering stations, gathering lines and gas wells. The Town of DISH's air study sampled air at seven locations from August 17 to 18, 2009. The results of this analysis revealed high concentrations of carcinogenic and neurotoxin compounds near and on residential properties. TCEQ has committed to install permanent monitoring equipment near the massive compressor facility, as well as respond to all complaints of toxic fumes within 12 hours.

NCTCA - North Central Texas Communities Alliance is a broad-based coalition of individuals, organizations, and communities throughout the Barnett Shale area working on local, state, and national levels for positive solutions to the problems related to natural gas drilling and pipelines.
Where: Hotel Trinity Inn and Suites, Interstate 30 and Beach, in Fort Worth, TX.

When: January 13, 2010, doors will open at 6:30 PM for networking and interviews, meeting starts at 7:00 PM

For More Information
Contacts
* Calvin Tillman, Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640, tillman4council@aol.com.

* Town of DISH
5413 Tim Donald Road
DISH, Texas 76247
Links

* DISH, Texas Municipal Ambient Air Quality Study can be found online here: www.townofdish.com

* North Central Communities Alliance http://www.nctca.net/

Sunday, January 3, 2010

DISH TX Mayor Calvin Tillman To Speak At North Central Texas Communities Alliance

For Immediate Release: DISH TX Mayor Calvin Tillman to Speak at North Central Texas Communities Alliance Meeting

DISH Mayor to speak on Air Quality Issues, And Discusses The Calls For A Moratorium On Natural Gas Activity In The Barnett Shale

DISH, TX -- The results of a DISH, Texas municipal Ambient Air Quality Study recently revealed high concentrations of toxic air emissions, including neurotoxins and carcinogens, near and on residential properties in the small town of DISH, Texas. DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman has been asked to speak at the North Central Texas Communities Alliance meeting on January 7, 2010 to discuss this testing. Other items that will be discussed is a new policy implemented by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in the Barnett Shale. Mayor Tillman will also discuss the proposed moratorium on gas drilling throughout the Barnett Shale.

DISH is located in the epicenter of the Barnett Shale gas play and is home to a megacomplex of compressor stations, as well as pipelines, metering stations, gathering lines and gas wells. The Town of DISH's air study sampled air at seven locations from August 17 to 18, 2009. The results of this analysis revealed high concentrations of carcinogenic and neurotoxin compounds near and on residential properties. TCEQ has committed to install permanent monitoring equipment near the massive compressor facility, as well as respond to all complaints of toxic fumes within 12 hours.

NCTCA - North Central Texas Communities Alliance is a broad-based coalition of individuals, organizations, and communities throughout the Barnett Shale area working on local, state, and national levels for positive solutions to the problems related to natural gas drilling and pipelines.

Where: Hotel Trinity Inn and Suites, Interstate 30 and Beach, in Fort Worth, TX.

When: January 7, 2010, doors will open at 6:30 PM for networking and interviews, meeting starts at 7:00 PM

For More Information
Contacts
* Calvin Tillman, Mayor, DISH, TX (940) 453-3640, tillman4council@aol.com.

* Town of DISH
5413 Tim Donald Road
DISH, Texas 76247

Links

* DISH, Texas Municipal Ambient Air Quality Study can be found online here: www.townofdish.com

* North Central Communities Alliance http://www.nctca.net/

Gold Star Texan Award

It appears that I won a 2009 Gold Star Texan Award. Did not know I had been nominated. Thanks to the Texas Progressive Alliance and those who nominated me for this award. I join some pretty impressive folks on the list.

http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/9798/texas-progressive-alliance-2009-gold-star-texans

http://www.burntorangereport.com/

The Texas Progressive Alliance announced on Wednesday the annual list of "Gold Star Texans" for 2009: Ramey Ko, Calvin Tillman, State Representative Elliott Naishtat, Texas Watchdog, and Hank Gilbert. This recognition is voted on annually by the members of the Texas Progressive Alliance, the largest state-level organization of bloggers, blogs, and netroots activists in the United States.

Ramey Ko Ramey Ko is an attorney and activist in Austin. He should be best known for his work in Asian Americans for Obama, but Republican stupidity assured us he will be best known as "the guy who held his cool while on the receiving end of a massive dose of both ignorance and racism from Betty Brown." With extreme professionalism, he tried to help Brown understand why it would behoove her and all Texans that voting rights for Asian Texans and all Texans not fall prey to bureaucratic errors creating name mismatches. Brown's ignorance/racism and Ko's cool reasonableness drew worldwide media attention. Watch the video of their exchange.

Calvin Tillman Calvin is mayor of a tiny town at the epicenter of the Barnett Shale. Several industry giants seized DISH land and installed a several huge compressor stations and processing plants right next to neighborhoods. They built a crisscross of pipelines all through the town and on private property. He has taken a hard line with industry, crafting a strategy to get the most bang for his press releases.

Calvin and the DISH City Council spent @ 10% of their yearly budget for a private ambient air study. This is the first such study where the results were made public so that all citizens in the Barnett Shale area might benefit. The levels of toxins were amazingly high and many DISH residents are seriously ill but they are poor and do not have health insurance. Calvin worked with TDSHS and finally got them to agree to test DISH residents. This is the first time a state agency has tested residents for drilling toxins. Calvin travels to other areas and speaks about these issues. He has offered to speak and assist others and refuses any compensation for travel or time.

Calvin is largely responsible for TCEQ's changed policy, announced today, in responses to Barnett Shale air emissions. Also, he is a blogger.

State Rep. Elliott Naishtat and his Capitol Staff While he may not be a native Texan, the work that Representative Naishtat has done for the State of Texas earns him a spot on the Texans of the Year List for 2009. Even with Voter ID putting a choke-hold on progress, Naishtat and his Capitol staff worked diligently to pass more legislation than any other member of the House during the 81st session. The Representative from Queens, who just completed his 10th session, has consistently proven himself to be an advocate for the sick and elderly, passing legislation that will create the Legislative Committee on Aging and ensuring Texas receives $15.2 million in Violence Against Women Act grants. We would be remiss in acknowledging Elliott Naishtat -- as the Representative is always quick to remind people -- without also recognizing his longtime staffers (Dorothy Browne, Nancy Walker and Judy Dale) who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help make Texas a better, safer place to live.

Texas Watchdog Texas Watchdog had a role in breaking stories in the just-completed Houston city elections. Though their work can, at times, be controversial, we welcome another online news organization to the Texas media landscape with our nomination of the group.

Hank Gilbert For his continuing work to defeat infrastructure privatization schemes and working with Democrats and more than a few Republicans, he helped put a stop to CDA's this past session and handed Governor Perry and Commissioner Todd Staples a rare defeat.