“Poking the Bear” – Post by Dish Mayor Calvin Tillman

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” (http://www.barnettshalenews.com/documents/2010/TillmanEditorialAllHat4-27-2010.pdf). 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.

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”

7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ashley said,

    Mayor Tillman,
    I must say a great big thank you to you because without people like you willing to tell it like it is to what is already going on in your community, the oil companies could just tell those of us who haven’t experienced drilling in our neighborhoods that they would be “good neighbors” and just be here for a few months and leave with nothing more to show for it but money in our pockets and no damage to our roads and community. Instead we now know about how their contaminants affect our air, water, bloodstream and urine. Thanks for taking on the big fight against Goliath and know that there are so many people including me right here with you.

  2. 2

    tom bowater said,

    Thank you Mayor Tillman for your altruistic efforts to spread the word of this impending peril to our Country.

    There will most likely be those who might wish to change your title from Mayor of Dish, Texas, to “Mayor of La Mancha” (all due respects to the classic 1965 musical). To those who would like to compare your efforts thus far to “dream the impossible dream…”, I would like to offer a word or two of caution; never underestimate the power of truth.

    History has demonstrated time and time again, that there are those who will attempt to divert attention to the messenger and away from the message. Hopefully folks will see such transparent attempts for exactly what they are.

    May you continue to find the resources and time to continue to spread your most urgent message.

    Tom Bowater

  3. 4

    Ruby Woody said,

    Thank you Mayor Tillman and other Dish residents for sharing with Corinth Cares group your experiences with gas drilling and its poor after effects. You’all really helped our neighborhood and residents to have an understanding of right and proper drilling and poorly managed sites. And we the residents, thank our own Corinth Mayor and Council members for protecting our children at Hawk and Crownover and our little ones from the harmful “slash and burn” tactics that were going to be used against this small area we call home. Stay tuned, it will come around again. God Bless Us All.
    P.S. and thank all you guys and gals out there that suited up and showed up for those long, long, until 2:30 am meetings.

  4. 5

    Anon said,

    Mayor Tillman, On behave of my family and my neighborhood I want to say a huge THANK YOU!! The education you provided me at Cora Bells home was very eye opening…to say the least…

    Thanks for taking all your time to travel and help ppl understand the dangers of drilling when not done right…

    I would say that you have helped to stir up a hornets nest!! I am so glad you did!! We need EPA to get more involved and regulate this process….

    I am not going to yackey yack….just thanks to you and TIM R…<3 God Bless you both!!

  5. 6

    Dave Goodwin said,

    Let’s post the story on the TCEQ as reported last night – they did not accuately or timely report the hazadous levels of benzene that their tests found.
    The fact that the Levels exceeded the long term exposure threshold for benzene.

    Is the TCEQ incompetent – or are they in bed with the gas well companies?


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