The gas industry’s latest promotional campaign for Barnett Shale drilling reminds us that fracking — pumping the ground with toxic chemicals to get at that precious gas — is as American as pickup trucks and Little League.
A TV ad released in February on EnergyFromShale.org, funded by the American Petroleum Institute, shows “energy-industry worker” Chad Dean climbing around drilling equipment in Celina, a little town north of Dallas.
To an uplifting soundtrack of sighing strings, Dean drives through this idyllic town with its picket fences and cowboys and returns home to wife and kids. The message is clear: Of course Chad cares about the public-health issues of gas drilling — he lives right next to the well!
Well, Dean may live in Celina, but it turns out the gas wells do not.
A call to the petroleum institute revealed that Dean works for Conoco Phillips, but there is, in fact, no hydraulic fracturing going on in Celina, as the website and video claim. Dean works at gas wells “around the area,” American Petroleum Institute spokesman Carlton Carroll said — that is, in Tarrant, Dallas, and Denton counties. Celina, however, is in Collin County, and fracking is not.
Sharon Wilson drew attention to the “mistake” on her blog Bluedaze, which raises awareness about drilling’s potential health hazards. As one commenter, Sue Heavenrich, put it: “Yipper — a nice little community to live in. But not an example of how great fracking is — unless he means to point out how great it is IF you live far away from the actual fracking!”
No Deep End In This Poole
Last week, Static told about former DISH mayor Calvin Tillman filing a complaint with the State Bar of Texas against David Poole, an attorney and senior vice president for the gas driller Range Resources. Tillman described Poole as a bully trying to intimidate people who fight against urban drilling.
Earlier this week, Tillman blogged about Poole selling most of his Range Resources stock not long after the company was sued for alleged water contamination in Parker County. (The lawsuit was recently dismissed.) Tillman described the stock sale as “fishy” — and Southlake Citizens Against Urban Drilling shared the link on its Facebook page. Heather Reser Poole then posted a response in defense of her husband. Those who re-post Tillman’s “defamatory statements” about her husband do so at their own peril, she wrote. “[W]e will be sending Mr. Tillman a Cease and Desist order, and legal action will likely follow … .”
Tillman shot back with a letter to Poole, saying that the bar restricts threats of litigation against complainants, and therefore Tillman would be filing another complaint. Equating a wife’s Facebook comment with a legal threat from Poole is a stretch, but Static enjoys watching Tillman rage against the machine.