Thursday, May 20, 2010


The Big Deception

When I first decided that we needed to have some biological testing accomplished here in DISH, TX, I was cautioned against getting our state health department involved. Most figured that they would run up here and began covering the back side of the oil and gas industry like they have done so many times before. However, I also have some very smart and nationally recognized people who help me in these decisions and we decided that if they would take our input on the testing, we might be OK. So we asked the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to test the air and a tentatively identified compound test in conjunction with the tests they were running. But they ignored the request from a nationally recognized scientist, who has more scientific recognition in her little toe, than anyone who works for the DSHS will ever have. Therefore, their report subsequently has turned out more political than scientific.

As one well known citizen who lives in the barnett shale has stated, "everything you hear from the natural gas industry in either a lie, or half truth". Here in DISH, we are used to the paid liars from this industry coming in and feeding us the normal lines like what good neighbors they want to be. However, when you get this from your state agencies that are sworn to protect you, it does not set as well. Many people believe everything these people say, and they are never held accountable when they are wrong...or deceitful. The DSHS showed up just like many of the other paid liars, thinking that they would blow smoke up the rear ends of a bunch of country bumpkins that didn't know any better, and just like the other paid liars, they left with their tails between their legs. Country bumpkins typically recognize the smell of BS pretty quickly.

After thinking about this, and doing some research into the matter, it was clear that no matter what was detected, the DSHS would have found a way to say there is nothing wrong. They have a history of doing just that, please see the following link, where they failed to protect the public interest in Texas once again.

In this "investigation" the community was worried about water run-off from a former refinery (hmm same industry), and subsequent surface water contamination. However, the same characters who came to DISH, decided the surface water didn't need testing. The soil and sediment were tested and both exceeded the Health Based Assessment Comparison for aluminum, arsenic, BaP TEQ (benzene derivative), and vandium. Conclusion - "no apparent public health hazard". In my line of business we call people like this "hacks".

In our case, they were looking hard for criticisms from us before the meeting, so that they could prepare to answer them. I made some comment to the media about the number of folks who had toluene and xylene in their systems, and oddly enough they came up with statistics that show we are actually lower than the rest of the United States, this was not in the report, just the presentation. At this point I started getting that familiar smell that we have grown accustomed to here in DISH... and not the natural gas smell. I then asked for the source of the statistics they used to determine this and they sent me to NHANES, said "just google it". Maybe that was their joke, because me and others searched for hours with no success finding this data. I did find a statement that said VOCs are present in most everyone at some level, but it would not be in detectable levels in everyone, so that may have been one of those "half truths".

During my several hours of research, I did find that the 95th percentile used in the DISH study appears to be a hand picked by the "hacks", and likely hand picked for a purpose. Apparently, you do not need a percentile reference number, but when one is used the 90th percentile seems to be the number used by real scientists.

If 50% of the households in DISH were above the 95th percentile for chemical exposure, I wonder how many are over the 90th percentile. However, if they would have figured that, it is likely that they would have that trend they were looking for, and we damn sure wouldn't want that, now would we? I think similar lying with statistics was accomplished in Flower Mound as well. If they start finding problems, the boys and girls in Austin would not get those critical campaign contributions they have grown accustom to. In my business we look for trends, and I am starting to see a trend with these "hacks".

If the above blatant failures were not enough to show what a joke this was, you must hear the rest of the story. Dr. Bradford admitted when questioned that the study was not a scientific study. However, they came to a very solid conclusion, with this non-scientific study. The conclusion goes something like...we see exposure but have no idea where the exposure is coming from, but it damn sure aint coming from that compressor station that we smelled those horrible odors from.

They then admitted that they did not know how close any of the citizens lived to the compressor sites, nor did they know the number of males vs females that were tested, and did not even know the age range of those who were tested. You would think they would have known the answers to the easy stuff if they wanted to appear believable. The data that they used for comparison in DISH was seven years old. Outdated data is something they also used in Flower Mound to help them reach their objective. I guess they figured they had this one in the bag like all the others before, too bad the country bumpkin's weren't buying.

Children were not tested as part of this "investigation". There apparently was no data to compare the results; however, in my wild goose chase that Dr. Bradford sent me on, I found several studies that referenced children. The one mentioned above showed how these chemicals affect children differently than adults...and yea it is much worse. She avoided the question during the meeting when asked about how children are affected differently than adults.

Frankly, I believe that they were sent here to not find anything and they would likely find exposure in our children. If they find toluene and xylene in kids they would not be able to blame it on smoking. Even us country bumpkins don't let our five year olds smoke. They would not have been able to give us the "half truths" that they did, and people don't play when it come to their kids. If us nice country folk knew our kids have BTEX chemical exposure, we may not be so nice any more. I am hopeful that the light will shine on some of the roaches who are responsible for these illusions, and I think there is another facility I would rather see them at, and it is located in Huntsville, Texas.

The house of cards they built came down very quickly. I am extremely disappointed that these folks did not take their oaths seriously, and are allowing the public to continue being put at risk. I had originally felt sorry for those who were likely on the puppets for the higher ups, but it is all too apparent that this is not there first deception, so they should have moved on to something else if they weren't committed to covering things like this up. They have actually offered to come back for another round of testing. I think I would rather see if the Chesapeake or Devon environmental department is available, they are much better liars.

In closing I would like to say that this "investigation" brings more questions than answers, and it is time for us to demand a stop to the social injustices that these state agencies are allowed to impose. Many people have no other options than to take their word for it, and no recourse when they are wrong. We apparently have not only been sacrificed for the good of the shale by these companies, but also the State of Texas. It is time for us to hold these paid liars accountable for their actions. Please let me know if you have any skills to help me investigate similar injustices.

Fortunately, the last state agency that left the DISH town hall with their tails between their legs was shamed into installing a permanent air monitor. Frankly, I am delightfully surprised by the improvements in our air quality over the last month. I am certainly not calling all clear, but it may be that we don't even need more testing, but I know that another community will face the same situation if there is not something done. If this industry would just do it right, we would not have many of these problems. The Gulf would not be becoming the dead sea and our children would not be exposed to cancer causing toxins. Please post on your blogs and websites.

See report here:

See the Q&A here:

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"

DISH residents frustrated with 'invalid' state health tests | | Dallas - Fort Worth Local News

DISH residents frustrated with 'invalid' state health tests Dallas - Fort Worth Local News

Monday, May 17, 2010

For Immediate Release: Texas Department of State Health Services will Brief DISH Residents on Exposure investigation

For Immediate Release: Texas Department of State Health Services will Brief DISH Residents on Exposure investigation

WHAT: Officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services will brief DISH, TX residents and answer questions on chemical exposure investigation results.

WHEN: Tuesday May 18, 2010
7:00 PM CST

WHERE: DISH, Texas Town Hall
5413 Tim Donald Road
DISH, Texas 76247

WHO: Carrie Bradfrord,MS,PhD, Toxicologist

DISH, TX -- Carrie Bradford with the Texas Department of State Health Services will visit the town of DISH, TX on Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 7:00 PM, and speak at a special town meeting. Dr. Bradford will update attendees on the results from DISH Exposure Investigation, which was conducted in January of this year, when 28 households voluntarily gave water, blood, and urine samples for chemical testing. Preliminary results show that 65% of the households tested have toluene in their systems at detectable levels, while 53% had detectable levels of m-/p-Xylene, and 46% had o-Xylene in their systems. All of these chemicals are known components of natural gas production, and have been detected in the ambient air in DISH on multiple occasions. Half of the households tested showed elevated levels in the top 5% of the United States population for 15 different chemicals. Dr. Bradford will then field questions from those in attendance.

DISH is located at 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 spent nearly 15% of its annual budget on a comprehensive air study after months of complaints to the state regulatory agencies and the compressor site operators brought the citizens no relief.

" Due to the fact the Department of State Health Services refused to accept our input and perform tests that could pinpoint the source of exposure, I think that many people have questions regarding the results of this study and exactly how the conclusions were reached." said DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman. Mayor Tillman also said that he is grateful that the Texas Department of State Health Services performed the study, and that they have already offered to come back in the summer for more testing. Recent readings from the continuous air monitor in DISH show greatly improved air quality over the past couple of weeks.

For More InformationContacts

* Calvin Tillman, Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640,

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

* DISH, Texas Municipal Ambient Air Quality Study can be found online here:

Workers cleaning up oil slick at Lake Bridgeport | | Dallas - Fort Worth Local News

Workers cleaning up oil slick at Lake Bridgeport Dallas - Fort Worth Local News

Thursday, May 13, 2010

DISH TX Mayor's Update

If I were one of the compressor operators here, and some small town mayor had just performed an air study finding horrible toxins being emitted by my site, I would have immediately cleaned up every emission source possible, and made that little mayor look like a fool. I would have made it so that no one would have ever gotten elevated readings again from my site. However, the group we have here in DISH apparently are slow learners, because it has taken them six months to figure this little secret out. So after six months and numerous tests, elevated toxins detected time and time again, as well as some hints by yours truly, do they finally began see the light.

I think there was some progress prior to the permanent monitor being installed; however, after the permanent monitor went in was when the real improvements began. Shortly after the monitor was online we had a large release in the middle of the night, and amazingly it all didn't go straight up to the moon like they have told us for the past five years. The methane lingered around in pretty steady concentrations for several hours, and it was all caught on the monitor, which was actually upwind at the time of the release. The scenario repeated in the middle of the night for several nights and appears to have helped in escalating a clean up effort.

Please note that I am making these statements with the assumption that there is not an old sock stuffed in the inlet of the monitor and the data is accurate, but I am optimistic about what I am seeing. Having said that, they guys have cleaned up their act for short periods before, so we will have to see if this can maintain. We will also be doing some parallel testing in the future, maybe next week or maybe not, just to keep everyone honest.

Over past several years, I have learned to almost be afraid to give them a compliment, because that is when something bad would happen. However, I will risk it this time and knock on a little wood that they can maintain and improve the current levels. If they should not maintain, we will all know about it. I think there is still work that needs to be done, and they certainly need and leak mitigation and repair plan, but the past four or five days, with only an occasional burp, the numbers look much improved. I am not declaring the area all clear quite yet, but I do feel much better about the situation, and the odor has improved as well. I will give credit to TCEQ, as well as the operators themselves for the improvements that have been made.

Of course everyone has no doubt heard about both the new water issues and results of the state health department's testing. I will have to comment further on those in separate messages. I will say that the water issues extremely disappoints me, and frankly leaves me with a lot of questions. The company who may be responsible for this, disappoints me even more, but never fear the Railroad Commission of Texas is on the job :). We went ahead and gave a sample to the EPA, and the town is paying for some testing as well. Not that we don't trust the expertise of the railroad commission...well now that I think about it, we don't, so there will be plenty of testing just in case.

Regarding the biological testing performed by the state, I will need to wait for the public meeting over the results, because as many of the citizens here, I also have some questions that need to be answered. Thanks to everyone and feel free to pass this on.

Monday, May 10, 2010

For Immediate Release: EPA to Update Public on Barnett Shale Emissions Plans

For Immediate Release: EPA to Update Public on Barnett Shale Emissions Plans

WHAT: Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz will speak and answer questions at DISH Town Meeting.

WHEN: Monday, May 10, 2010
7:00 PM CST

WHERE: DISH, Texas Town Hall
5413 Tim Donald Road
DISH, Texas 76247

WHO: Dr. Al Armendariz, EPA Region VI Administrator

DISH, TX -- Dr. Al Armendariz will visit the tiny town of DISH on Monday, May 10, 2010, 7:00 PM, and speak at its regular town meeting. Dr. Armendariz is expected to update attendees on actions that the EPA is taking in regards to air emissions in the Barnett Shale, as well as other projects the EPA is undertaking. He will then field questions from those in attendance.

DISH is located at 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 spent nearly 15% of its annual budget on a comprehensive air study after months of complaints to the state regulatory agencies and the compressor site operators brought the citizens no relief.

"I am reassured by Dr. Armendariz’s visit and hope that seeing what has happened here with his own eyes will generate some action." said DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman. Mayor Tillman also said that it will help the citizens of DISH to have lingering questions about water and air quality answered. Recent news that toxins are in DISH residents’ blood and urine and in their water has left even more unanswered questions for citizens throughout the Barnett Shale.

Sharon Wilson, Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project Organizer said, “It’s time to stop studying the toxic emissions in our air and start insisting that industry prevent the emissions and protect our water by employing the best practices in Drill-Right Texas.”

For More InformationContacts

* Calvin Tillman, Mayor, DISH, TX(940) 453-3640,

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

* DISH, Texas Municipal Ambient Air Quality Study can be found online here:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Keep Poking the Bear

There have been a lot of my friends in the industry who have found it necessary to begin aggressive personal attacks on me. Several industry publications, such as the Powell Barnett Shale Newsletter have had articles and editorials stating that I am pretty much everything but a nice person. This activity is not new; however, the intensity has been elevated and it has gotten much more personal. This tells me that I must be making an impact, or they would not attack me personally. This also tells me that they have given up on attacking the message, now they are only attacking the man.

Obviously, anyone who would bother to read the Powell Newsletter knows that it is industry funded. As everyone also knows by now, I do not accept compensation or travel expenses for my presentations, and unfortunately those at the Powell Newsletter can’t say the same. They are in all reality a paid cheerleader for the natural gas industry, join me Gene…rah rah rah…gooooo… Chesapeake.

Frankly, if the industry wants to truly be successful they would embrace the ideas that I bring forward, which is doing business in a respectful and responsible manner. I find that in every presentation I give, there are always a few who show up that have read the propaganda and are looking for a fight. However, after listening to my message it is apparent that I am not some anti-drilling wacko and the picture that has been painted of me is inaccurate, and it is always nice to hear that they agree with my points before they leave.

Everyone knows that the industry has an ugly baby, except for the industry themselves. I know it must be difficult to admit your baby is ugly, but like they say about alcoholics, you must first admit you have a problem before can move one. Instead this industry continues to deny their baby is ugly.

There is really no doubt for anyone who has accomplished even a small amount of research that there is certainly a downside to this industry. If this downside is not mitigated in some manner we will be looking at a mess that will need to be cleaned up down the road when all of these companies are long gone. As history has shown us, these companies are typically nowhere to be found when it comes time to clean up the mess. That cleanup project is left for the citizens and taxpayers, not the companies who made billions making the mess. The industry will outsource this cost to the hard working American people, just as that try to do for all of their costs.

The industry wants us to believe that they are a fledgling industry who cannot afford to take simple measures needed to make the shale plays a win-win situation. I think that most of us know that this industry spends billions lobbying to prevent them from being mandated to do it right. Therefore, they could and should do this process more responsibly and respectfully.

They are picking the pockets of the citizens of Pennsylvania, who will be paying for the mistakes made by their elected officials for many years to come. This state is one of two that have oil and gas activities, and do not have a severance tax for the minerals. They pay this tax in every other state, and will gladly pay it in Pennsylvania, but continue to lobby for the outsourcing of their costs to the taxpayers. This could be billions when it is all said and done, but as it stands, the billions will come from hard working Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Every location that has natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania has something in common, and that is destroyed roads. Instead of being the good neighbor we keep hearing about, they outsource the cost of the road repair to the taxpayers. However, these small communities simply can’t afford to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars in road repairs; therefore, the citizens in these areas drive on destroyed roads, worse than I have ever seen. If the natural gas industry wanted to improve their image, they should embrace a severance tax in Pennsylvania, instead of chasing me around the country.

As the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico shows, we are one wrong move from a catastrophic event. As any good Texan does, I really enjoy my gulf shrimp. Unfortunately, thanks to the reckless actions of this industry, it will likely be several years before I can enjoy it again. That is not the bad part though; the bad part is that something similar will happen here before this is over. It is only a matter of time before we have that catastrophic event somewhere in one the shale plays. However, in the shale plays they have put this hazardous activity in school yards and neighborhoods. So guess what is going to happen when the catastrophe happens here? There will be a lot of dead people.

The last editorial written Gene the “propaganda machine” Powell himself, was entitled “All Hat and No Cattle” ( I must admit that I do not have any cattle. However, I would like to have cattle, but I am afraid they would die or abort their calves, like they do in the small town of Clearville, PA, home of Clearville Gas Storage. In this area the hard working Americans have to purchase their own filtration system to take the high levels of arsenic out of their well water. Most of the surface and ground water has been contaminated by this reckless industry in Clearville, PA.

As one of my new friends in Pennsylvania said, I am the new villain for the industry extremists. They rally around the Powell Newsletter, which gives me an entire section of every issue. Whatever happens, they blame me for their problems. If a large landowner refuses to sign a one sided lease, it will be my fault. If a community demands that the industry be responsible, it is that Calvin Dewayne Tillman’s fault. When people rally around the idea of a fair and equitable severance tax…yep, you guessed it…Calvin’s fault. It has nothing to do with the industry that has contaminated dozens of private water wells in Pennsylvania, and is destroyed air quality and property values wherever they have been, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. It has nothing to do with the industry that outsources its cost to the taxpayers, while its executives make hundreds of millions dollars in bonuses. Nope, those things have no influence on public perception. It is only that mayor of DISH; Calvin Dewayne Tillman, that causes all of this grief for the natural gas industry.

If the industry would be responsible and respectful, instead of searching out a new way to attack me, they would be much better off. However, it appears the more they attack me, the more people come to see what the big deal is. As bad as they hate it, every presentation that I give is to a packed house. Furthermore, I find dozens more who want me to speak in their town. People want to know the truth through eyes of someone that has lived it, not a paid cheerleader. I truly wish the industry would do the smart thing and let me help them become responsible and respectful. However, they are going to continue to be the irresponsible bully, blaming me for all of their problems.

Mr. Powell is right on another matter; I have no shortage of arrogance against this industry. Maybe it was my Oklahoma raising, or the fact that my parents would not allow me to stand by while a bully ran over those too passive to defend themselves, but I am not afraid of this industry and certainly will not be deterred by their personal attacks. Frankly, seeing this fear that has been struck in these industry extremists keeps me going, when my energy has run out. You should see the looks on their faces, when I walk over and shake their hand. So I hope Mr. Powell and the extremists keep “Poking the Bear”, regurgitation the same propaganda, because in the end, that may be what forces them to be respectful and responsible, and hopefully those companies that chose not to will perish. God bless.