Remember the former mayor of DISH who fled the city after gas drillers turned it into an industrial site?
Tillman and some of his townsfolk fought a long time against state laws and regulatory agencies that are geared toward protecting industry. They’re still fighting. But last year he put his home up for sale, gave full disclosure about the nearby compressor stations and the health effects that some residents were reporting (including his own children), and eventually sold his place at a loss.
Seven months ago, Tillman moved from DISH. Now he’s co-founder of ShaleTest, a nonprofit that collects environmental data and provides environmental testing to lower income families and neighborhoods affected by natural gas exploration.
Here’s an email update from Tillman edited for length (I put ellipses to indicate where I cut something):
“Since moving from DISH, my children have not experienced the periodic nosebleeds that they had while living there, and we have been able to enjoy being outside at our home without the noxious odors. It is amazing how you miss things like opening your windows on a nice day to let a breeze blow through your home. This has taken a tremendous burden off of the entire family. … Traveling around and talking to various people, I have found that there are many others in the same position that we found ourselves in; however, getting out for most is not as easy. … Once someone is put in this situation, selling their home, even at a massive loss can be difficult if not impossible. So foreclosure is the only option available for some folks to get out of the situation that they have put in, which in many cases is through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, foreclosure is not the end of it, because after that, your credit will be ruined and all the money invested will be lost, not to mention being able to find another place to live.
“I am unsure how a situation like this can occur in America, but it has on numerous occasions and keeps repeating itself. There have been so many who have lost everything because of this situation. These are honest hardworking, taxpaying Americans who have worked hard and saved to buy a home, and spent their life savings on the home of their dreams, only to see that dream be taken away by an energy company that could not care less about the impacts they are making on someone’s life. They are forced to deal with exposure to hazardous chemicals, tainted water, and noxious odors that prevent them from peaceful enjoying the home of their dreams and threaten their children’s health. They are faced with decisions that an American should not have to be faced with. We were also fortunate that we lived close enough to the edge of the Barnett Shale, that we could move off of the shale without needing to switch jobs, and maintain key relationships. Many are not in a similar position, for them to move off of their prospective shale, or other formation, they would need to move several hundred miles away to escape. So you are then left to wonder where exactly you could move to get out of your situation, and what you may do when you get there. Scenarios such as this prevent families from leaving a bad situation. Therefore, they continue to live in a home, where the air or water may be tainted because there is simply no good option to move elsewhere.
“The stories that I hear over and over again and again, seem to get worse and worse. Every time I hear one of these stories, I tell myself that this is as bad as it can possible get; only to hear one that is worse. I am a grown man that has stood toe to toe with very powerful politicians and a very powerful industry, but these stories break me. …
“This is an aspect of this subject that is not discussed often enough, and the number of people who are affected in this manner continues to grow. There are so many that are wanting out of their current situation, and have no viable options to make that happen. Therefore, they are stuck in a situation that perhaps is negatively affecting their health and or the health of their children. To those of you out there in this position, I hear your voice and only wish I could do more to help you.”
The 12 compressors in DISH are considered the primary source of toxic emissions. By contrast, the Mallard Creek neighborhood in east FW is scheduled to have 15 compressors right in the ‘hood. All courtesy of Chesapeake-City of FW, Inc… unless the citizens can stop it. So far the City has been unwilling to do battle with Chesapeake.
CORRECTION: Mallard Cove neighborhood.
Most every city in the Barnett Shale is taking fast action to better protect their citizens from the disaster that is urban drilling. But Ft. Worth’s response is way too weak. They compressor station at Mallard Cove is an outrageous proposal! I can’t believe Ft. Worth is even considering such madness.
This is purely a rumor but… I was told that one on the zoning board who insisted the Mallard Cove residents present nothing but factual information stated that, in his opinion, there was something fishy up with all the health complaint information from Dish. How is it okay for him to make such a reckless statement based on nothing but his opinion yet he demands only facts from citizens?
One reason people get confused about the health information from Dish is because industry continues to LIE about it. I have a recording of a Devon employee, Gilbert Horton, lying to the Ponder City Council about the Dish blood and urine results. But, he probably just got it off Ed Ireland’s website where Ireland exhibits the same lie for the world to see.
The Industry lying, distorting the truth and constantly selling us the so-called ‘benefits’ of natural gas through full page newspaper ads, television commercials, billboards, radio and magazine ads is no surprise. What is surprising to me is that the lies and the enormous exaggerations continue unabated, and no one is challenging them. For example, Artis Brown, geologist for ExxonMobil, says in the TV commercial promoting the Tar Sands exploration that it has “The potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs”. This is ridiculous. Even our own State Dept, which seems inclined to sign off on the Keystone XL pipeline coming from the tar sands reports 7-10K jobs at most.
This is just one small example. This is how Industry gets people to sign leases, this is how Industry gets away with violating the law, and this is how Industry fails to hold themselves accountable.
In the couple of times I’ve been through these same areas with Tillman, it’s heartbreaking to see what this Industry has done to people and continue to do without any remorse whatsoever.
When was the last time anyone remembers an operator coming out after an incident, spill, leak, etc., and saying “We were wrong, it’s our fault, we’re going to do whatever we need to do to fix it and ensure this doesn’t happen again”?
They keep lying because we keep letting them.