Saturday, January 21, 2012

Devon Flir Video

The Paper Tiger

To those of you who have children, you have no doubt seen the movie, The Jungle Book. In this movie the villain is played by the dreaded tiger Shere Khan. Shere Khan was feared by all in the land except for the young child Mogli, who exposed Shere Khan's weakness, which was fire. Shere Khan was of course what we call a paper tiger, which appears to be powerful, but is actually powerless and ineffective.
When I started dealing with the natural gas industry, I was initially intimidated by the size and wealth of the industry. I soon learned that negotiating with them in this frame of mind, I would come up short. The industry is poised to prey on those who are intimidated by them, and I had began to hear a number of horror stories regarding the industry and how they would threaten and intimidate those who would dare to question them. Frankly, I found the initial approach to be friendly... friendly like a car salesman, not friendly like neighbor. However, after being sold a bad used car a couple of times, you quickly learn that maybe you should question what is going on. That is when you start seeing the threats begin; first the sales pitch, and then the threats.
When growing up everyone had to deal with a bully. Maybe is was the ugly kid at school whose parents didn't like them much and who never learned to get their way without using force. But, eventually the skinny kid punches them in the nose, and the secret is out that they bleed like everyone else. The skinny kid does that when it seems likely the only option. If you figure out that you are going to get your butt kicked either way, you may as well go down swinging and this is when the paper tiger's weakness gets exposed.

This is very similar to the story in DISH. At some point we knew that there would be nothing left if we did not make a stand; nothing more than an eventual statistic. We went through the sales pitch from the paid liars, and the constant threats from the industry sociopaths. I knew we were likely going to lose, but why not go down fighting? I quickly learned that this industry was nothing more than a paper tiger, and began finding and exploiting their weaknesses. I found with a little strategy, it does not take much to get ahead of this industry.

I like playing chess, and compare this little battle to playing chess with a checkers player. They have employed the same strategy for so long, that they do not have the ability to try something different. Everyone who plays chess is familiar with the four move checkmate; however, the four move checkmate works every time on those who work in this industry. I have told them on a number of occasions that I have two advantages over them, the first being that they get paid for this...I don't, and the second being that when they were snuggled into bed I would be lying awake staring at the ceiling thinking about my next move. Many times I got only a blank stare at this comment, kinda like the lights are on, but no one is home look.
Many of the people I have spoken with feel like they are behind they industry and always reacting and catching up to them. However, I think that it is imperative to make the industry react and catch up to you. When they are getting ready to make a move, they must consider what you will do. They must make your reaction a part of their plan. Through my dealings with the industry, it is apparent that the plan that they employ is very simple, they lie, they bully, and when that doesn't work, they get the laws changed so that one of the other tactics works better next time, then they wonder why nobody likes them.
It has come to my attention that the industry is trying the bully tactic on some of my friends made through my travels around the United States. They apparently have stooped to the level of stalking and intimidating people. This is happening from Texas to Pennsylvania to people who are only trying to live the American Dream, and having that dream stolen by this industry. I have had a number of people call me and caution me about being so vocal on the industry. Many have been worried about my safety and I certainly appreciate the thoughtfulness of these warnings, but you must know by now that I am not afraid of the paper tiger.
Just like the skinny kid that bloodies the bullies nose, you have have to figure you are going to get your butt kicked either way, so why not put up a fight. This has helped improve the situation in DISH, and it will help you as well. When we have meetings in DISH, and the industry showed up, I asked them to let me know so that I could hire private security to insure their protection. Typically, they stand in the back of the room, staring at their shoes, and only speak when spoken to, I think they may actually have left their vehicles running in the parking lot for a quick escape. You see in DISH, we were not intimidated, but rather the industry was intimidated by us; in DISH we controlled the situation. Many of the state regulatory agencies also have been put in their place by the angry mob in DISH.
There always seems to be one industry person who draws the short straw and has to attend one of my presentations. They are easy to spot and do not wish for me to know their identity. I always try to sneak up on them and introduce myself. I have to sneak up on them, because if they see me coming, they will avoid the meeting. If I do manage to introduce myself, you can see the uncomfortableness of the individual as I shake their hand, making sure to squeeze their hand just enough to get their attention, and I have already told several to watch the exchange to see the reaction from the paper tiger. Many may say that I am using my notoriety to intimidate them and therefore I am no better than them. I do this for a reason, and that is to show those who invited me exactly how weak those in this industry are.
There have also been reports that some are intimidated by none other than their own neighbors, who are apparently disappointed that they have not signed the lease and are "stopping progress". I have already spoken about the "gold rush" scenario, so I won't go into that. But nonetheless, there are those who feel that it is only you that are preventing them from fulfilling their lifelong goal of being rich. They have not managed to get rich with all of their other schemes, but this is the one that will finally work. Not realizing that they are doing nothing more than helping a guy in Oklahoma make payments on his NBA arena and is wine collection. They have just been taken advantage of one more time, and they don't even know it, and they will likely end up as broke as they are now.

I am not suggesting violence, or anything that could be interpreted as that. What I am suggesting is to stand up and deal with this problem. When politicians take away our rights for the benefit of this industry, let's show them the door. When the industry tries the techniques I have described, expose them for what they are. If they stalk you, get photos, videos, and expose them for what they are doing, send this information to me and others who can expose these sort of actions. Don't let their threatening emails and message go unnoticed. Call the authorities, call the media, or call me. You will find very quickly that you are dealing with a paper tiger, the intimidation will stop immediately. And this message is also for those in the industry, it is your people that are taking these tactics, and it is your responsibility to help prevent it. A little advice for those in the industry, if you don't want to be treated like a scumbag...don't be a scumbag.
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"

Athens OH Press Release

Jan 18, 2012
Contact: Christine Hughes at

Fracking Presentation to Educate Community and Officials

There will a public presentation on the environmental, economic and health related impacts of horizontal hydraulic fracturing on Jan 28 at 2 p.m. The event will feature Calvin Tillman as seen in the film Gasland, and will be held in Morton Hall Room 237.

Tillman, former mayor of Dish Texas, will discuss the health effects he and his family suffered as fracking moved in to his small Texas town. He will also examine the accountability of the natural gas industry, and share what he is doing to help communities protect themselves.

S Thomas Bond, a retired teacher with a Ph. D. in Inorganic Chemistry, will be presenting on the connection between the environment, land ownership, quiet country living and resources for the future. He will speak more extensively on the kinds of damage to be expected from shale drilling, and will point out what he considers the objective of shale drillers, the concept of externalization of costs. Bond is also a member of the Guardians of the West Fork and the Monongahela Area Watersheds Compact in West Virginia.

“Hearing about fracking from individuals who live with it will help us know what is in store for us if industry moves in,” says Christine Hughes, a local business owner and organizer of the event. “I feel that personal accounts ‘from the trenches’ are what officials are looking for, to pinpoint what must be done to prevent damage to our own community.”

Following the event will be a casual reception at Jackie O’s at 5 p.m to give individuals an opportunity to speak directly to Tillman and Bond. Contact Christine Hughes at for more information.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Putting the Cat Back Into the Bag

Since the town of DISH released the results of the ambient air study in 2009, the oil and gas industry has worked overtime to put that cat back into the bag. They first attacked the consultant that conducted our study, and then came after me personally with numerous threats and frivolous public information requests. They also spent a tremendous amount of resources to find any angle to put a cloud of doubt around the study, although the lab results clearly showed a problem, and subsequent studies show similar results including those studies perform by the oil and gas industry themselves. This rhetoric did not stop at the industry public relations departments, but also went to the highest levels of government in the State of Texas. Our state wide elected Railroad Commissioners can be heard on public record regurgitating the same vile comments that the industry groups were spewing, all working in collusion to make this little problem go away.

Once the Town of DISH started to get attention worldwide from this air study, the industry worked even harder to cloud the truth. Through my research it is apparent that the oil and gas industry will dispute any and all actions that cost the industry money, even likely spending more money to dispute the facts than accept responsibility and correcting the problem. Although, if they would show even one ounce of responsibility, it would pay huge dividends to their public image. One example of this propaganda is the AskChesapeake (CHK) website. Before the town of DISH air study was made public, there was a section of this website that admitted to the release of many of the chemicals found in DISH, and other areas, including the carcinogen benzene. The site indicated that these chemicals were tightly regulated by numerous state and federal agencies. When the DISH study was released, it became apparent that these sites weren't quite as regulated as Chesapeake (CHK) had indicated. Therefore, shortly after the release of the DISH air study, which had Chesapeake's (CHK) name all over it, that section of their website disappeared, and was replaced with a page that basically said " a little benzene exposure is ok".

The industry also likes to deflect blame from themselves by pointing out other industries that pollute. They act as though bad behavior by others makes it alright for them to do it. I have heard that there have been idle threats aimed at municipalities from Chesapeake, stating that if air testing was accomplished at any of their facilities, they would hire a firm to test the air around some of the area's largest employers. Hmmm, didn't see that advertised on AskChesapeake.

Now when traveling to make presentations around the country, I carry a library of air studies, and numerous photos from around the country. I explain these studies and photos during my presentation, because I know by now that someone will accuse me of dramatizing these issues. The industry would much rather show a photo of a little deer running in front of a drilling rig, than an aerial view of DISH, or better yet, the satellite images that show thousands of large well pad sites. That makes it a little difficult for them to say that there will only be a few wells here and there, and the land will be returned to its original condition. Therefore, the group of paid liars, show up and video my presentation, trying to find something to take out of context and use against me. They then write some hack piece on their websites that are only read by those looking to get paid by the industry, and that makes the band of thugs applaud.

Another issue that follows the same pattern is the small community of Dimock, PA. A private water well actually exploded and yet now the claim is that everything is fine, again trying to put the cat back in the bag. Anyone who has visited the affected people in Dimock, know that everything is not fine, but rather still quite a mess. But the state agency designed to protect the people of Pennsylvania are also working in collusion with the oil and gas industry. This agency has allowed the industry to stop delivering fresh water to those whose water wells are tainted by the irresponsible activities of others. With these sort of actions, does anyone wonder why people are moving out of Gasland? When you cannot depend on those who are paid to protect you, you must protect yourself and your family. None of us are in this position because of our own doing, or because we want to be.

There have been numerous university studies that have attempted to validate the industry's stories. Whether it deals with health impacts, or economic impacts, if they are funded by the industry, they always paint a rosy picture. While typically those who perform studies that are not funded by the industry, typically tell a different story, and if the story is not rosy, it is attacked. In the industries eyes only the studies they fund are valid, and not too many studies show a rosy picture if they are not industry funded. There have been numerous air studies accomplished throughout the Barnett Shale. First there was the DISH Study, that was followed up by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality testing, then the industry performed a study, and lastly the City of Fort Worth perform a study. If looking at only the lab results, all of the studies have very similar findings. There were the same chemicals detected and at levels above the Effects Screening Levels, including benzene that was detected in all of the studies. Frankly, some of the benzene levels found in the other areas were much worse than those found in DISH. However, the study in DISH indicated that there might be a problem with being exposed to benzene, while the other studies indicated that being exposed to a little benzene was ok, and when the levels were very high, they stated that they were being corrected. Although the lab results showed problem, the press release said everything was rosy. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality actually lied to the public about their test results, and had a subsequent internal ethics investigation that showed how this organization intentionally misled the public when they stated that they had not detected benzene in eight air samples, when results showed that half of the samples had elevated benzene levels. No one was ever held accountable for this intentional misleading of the public.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) even came to DISH to take blood and urine samples. This showed several elevated chemicals in the blood and urine of over half of the households, and most of those chemicals had been found to be produced by the compressor station; however, the TDSHS said things like household chemicals and smoking caused the elevated levels, when only four of the twenty seven people tested actually smoked. I was one of the ones who gave samples for the test, and along with 2/3 of those tested, I had toluene in my system. The TDSHS blamed this exposure on my commute, which I had not accomplished in 72 hours, and the half life for toluene is said to be 4 hours. During the meeting where they presented this information, there were several questions posed that the TDSHS could not answer, such as what the number of men vs women that were tested, were there different results in men vs women, how far did each person live from a well or compressor site, did those who lived closer to wells or compressors have higher exposure than those living further away. After it became apparent that the person responsible did not do an effective study, she admitted that this was not a scientific study, and that it should not be looked at as such (you can find the presentation on youtube). However, it has been treated and touted as the smoking gun that things are fine...nothing to see here . There have even been those in academia who have supported this study after it was admittedly flawed, while both the university professors, and the TDSHS are both paid by the State of Texas, where negative talk about the oil and gas industry is not tolerated. Consequently, the governor, who has never had a real job, made a run for President of the United States due to his support from the oil and gas industry, although that is not working out to well for him.

I do not have PhD that follows my name, nor am any kind of scientist, doctor,or lawyer. I admittedly do not understand things like climate change or global warming, but I do believe that I have a little common sense, and I have a lot of smart people that consult me. Therefore, when the benzene level goes up, so does the risk of someone getting cancer, and my children waking up to massive nosebleeds is not normal. Since moving from DISH 9 months ago my children have not suffered one nosebleed in the middle of the night. So although I am not a scientist, and can't explain why my children were getting nosebleeds, or why the noxious odors gave me a headache and a sore throat, I know I feel better now, have a lot more energy, and that moving out of Gasland was a smart move for me and my family. For those really smart people who think that everything is fine in Gasland, please let me know...I bet I could find you a great deal on a house with a compressor station in your back yard, because it is very easy to say things are fine, when you don't have any skin in the game.

Calvin Tillman
Former 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"