Texas Mayor visits Pittsburgh to Expose Predatory Gas Drillers: Everyone in Dish, Texas is Sick from Toxic Gases

Dish Mayor Calvin Tillman, shown Monday, stopped construction of a pipeline compressor station planned by Crosstex Energy until the company secures permits to build inside town limits

by Bob Schmetzer

April 19,2010

 Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA

The Mayor and a resident of Dish, Texas came to town to inform Pennsylvanians of some problems their community experienced from fracking style drilling that is now coming to Pennsylvania.

Mayor Calvin Tillman and Tim Puggiaro explained with a slide show and examples what made the people in their town sick. The community leaders complained to Texas state agencies for over a year about foul air.

The state let the drillers try to find out what the problem was. The drillers claimed the smell was from the odorizers. The problem got worse.

It took 2 years for the state to go to the compressor sites for air monitoring. 94 sites at 44 locations showed benzene was present and an imminent danger. A continuous air monitor was installed.

A health questionnaire was distributed to the residents. A biological test was given to 75 households who participated. What were found in their blood and urine were the chemicals coming out of the drill site. They were Chloroform, 1,4 Dichlorobenzene, toluene, styrene, oxylene, ethylbenzene, and others. 

These wells were drilled and located next to schools, churches, houses, and

The people of Dish found out that the drillers could have produced this product in a safe way by containing the byproducts. The drillers could have extracted the byproducts for sale. But they chose to vent into the atmosphere because the cost was lower.

The community paid the price. 90% of the chemicals used in fracking have serious health effects.

The pollution can be contained and its effect on people can be minimized using many well-known measures:

Stay back from homes, schools and playgrounds.

Use a closed loop system to contain water.

No flaring

No pit for waste

Vapor recovery on condensate tanks

Zero emission dehydrators, & pneumatic valves

Also, zero emissions can be checked with a infrared camera.

One serious problem is the drillers are exempt from the ” Clean Water Act”. This is the Halliburton exemption inserted into the 2005 Energy Act. Ask your Senator and Representatives to repeal the gas drillers’ exemption from the Clean Water Act. It’s a free call.

We have a constitutional right to clean water, air and land. Our Senators and Representatives swore an oath to obey and defend the constitution.

Pennsylvania lacks a severance tax on the drilling. This present government looks at it as a cash cow to pay other bills. It should be used for enforcement, prosecutions, and cleanup of unscrupulous drillers. Give more control to local Zoning laws. 


The following are two news articles on Dish, Texas.

Dish Texas Votes On Drilling Moratorium

BJ Austin, KERA News (2010-02-08)



In Dish Texas tonight, the Board of Commissioners is expected to pass a 90 day moratorium on new gas drilling permits. KERA’s BJ Austin says the Mayor wants the “time out” to go greener

Dish Mayor Calvin Tillman expects the moratorium on new drilling permits will pass. He says he wants to make sure Dish is using every regulatory tool it has. Dish recently sparked state testing of drilling sites across North Texas after high levels of toxic benzene registered in the air. Mayor Tillman says he’s encouraged that Fort Worth has requested more testing.

Tillman: We have a lot of energy and we’ve tried real hard to get something done. But it you get cities on board like Fort Worth, trying to make change, I think you’re going to see change come a whole lot quicker than you will if it were a city like Dish.

Devon Energy is the only driller inside the Dish city limits. Mayor Tillman says he wants to make the company’s voluntary emission capture system part of city ordinance – so it would be required of any other company requesting a permit. Mayor Tillman says he’s asking Devon Energy for input – especially on vapor recovery systems for storage tanks. Devon Energy says it has always been willing to work with local communities.

Email BJ Austin

© Copyright 2010, KERA


Dish mayor gets firm’s attention

Warning stops project until permits obtained

10:04 AM CDT on Saturday, October 13, 2007

By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

DISH — Construction has stopped on a Crosstex Energy pipeline and compression plant after Mayor Calvin Tillman posted notices on the contractor’s equipment warning them of a $2,000-a-day fine if they continue to work without proper permits.

A Crosstex spokeswoman said the company got ahead of itself and failed to secure building permits before beginning construction inside the town limits.

“We do admit the error on our part,” Crosstex’s Jill McMillan said. 

Construction started on the site about 10 days ago, after Crosstex requested a pipeline permit from Dish officials. Tillman drove by the construction site Oct. 5 and saw more work being done than was needed for a pipeline. Work stopped the next day.

“I saw the lime going down and said, ‘That’s a road,’” Tillman said. He drove up the new road base and discovered the pad site, which is hidden from Tim Donald Road by a stand of old oak trees.

“I was very surprised to find the pad site almost complete,” Tillman said.

Since Dish is too small to have a code enforcement employee, the job of writing such tickets falls to the mayor. Tillman had once been with former Mayor Bill Merritt when Merritt wrote up another pipeline construction project for failing to follow Dish’s code of ordinances, he said.

After posting notices on the equipment, Tillman wrote Crosstex officials and advised them to present their plans and secure permits in accordance with Dish ordinances.

The contractor also removed construction equipment from the site.

Crosstex is now working closely with the mayor and area property owners on construction plans, McMillan said.

Frustrated by ongoing noise and smell from the original compression plant shared by Atmos Energy, Energy Transfer and Enbridge between Tim Donald and Strader roads, some Dish residents have taken aggressive steps to protect their property values.

A series of town meetings with representatives from that plant led to a noise study and some abatement measures earlier this year. 

Noise levels from the original compression plant have dropped near his own home, Tillman said. But residents of the Chisholm Trail subdivision, which sits next to the plant, still complain.

They look to the town for ongoing help.

“One told me she put every dime she had into buying her place in the country, and she didn’t have any more money for attorneys,” Tillman said.

But several residents have sued operators of the plant, including Jim and Judy Caplinger, who live on Tim Donald Road.

The couple filed suit in July, alleging that Atmos, Energy Transfer and Enbridge have trespassed on their property and that the noise has affected their property values.

Overall, home values in Dish are among the lowest in the county. But there are many $200,000 homes in the area, too, Tillman said. 

“[These] homes have working people in them, people who’ve put their life savings into it,” Tillman said.

Crosstex’s new plant would likely be one of the smaller ones in the area, McMillan said. The company plans on installing one 600-horsepower compression unit for its pipeline.

“We’re submitting plans on what it will look like and what kind of noise abatement it will have,” McMillan said. 

According to county maps of the area, at least five major pipelines that gather natural gas mined from the Barnett Shale already converge in Dish.

Crosstex is building its second major line in the area. The company has assigned 2 acres of land from Chesapeake Energy to add its own compression plant.

Chesapeake itself requested a permit to build another compression plant that would increase capacity for those pipelines.

Chesapeake representative Justin Bond told Dish officials that the new plant would be built between the current plant and Tim Donald Road, on a 5 1/2-acre site the company leased from a Dallas couple.

Chesapeake plans to cover the compression engines with a metal building of acoustical panels that can be painted and adorned with a few architectural details to help it fit into the neighborhood, Bond said.

At 300 feet away from the plant, the acoustical panels would reduce noise to no more than 5 decibels above background during the day or 3 decibels at night.

“We’ll be following the same guidelines as Fort Worth’s noise ordinance,” Bond said. 

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is pheinkel-wolfe@dentonrc.com.


Chesapeake Energy has pledged that, at 300 feet away from its new compression plant, the noise will be no louder than 5 decibels during the day and 3 decibels at night. Here are some decibel measurements for some common noises:

Ticking watch — 20 dB

Quiet whisper — 30 dB

Refrigerator hum — 40 dB

Rainfall — 50 dB

Sewing machine — 60 dB

Washing machine — 70 dB

Alarm clock — 80 dB at 2 feet

Average traffic — 85 dB

Blow dryer; subway — 100 dB

Mower; chainsaw — 105 dB

Screaming child — 110 dB

Rock concert; thunder — 120 dB

Jackhammer; jet engine — 130 dB at 100 feet away 

Experts recommend earplugs to protect people from hearing loss when exposed to levels 85 dB and above.

SOURCE: American Tinnitus Association


3 thoughts on “Texas Mayor visits Pittsburgh to Expose Predatory Gas Drillers: Everyone in Dish, Texas is Sick from Toxic Gases”

  1. No we won’t stand silent and neither will others in nearby counties.
    Nice work and nice article Bob. See comment below circumstances allowing for partial account of meeting held last Thursday at Grove City College.

  2. “Is Marcellus Shale all it’s cracked up to be?”

    This first page byline attracted my attention at a Slippery Rock news stand after I attended a nice presentation of Michael Moore’s recent movie on finances and Wall Street at Slippery Rock University Monday night. Thanks to one of our friends from the Slippery Rock area for organizing the presentation and discussion.

    Nice article in the Allied City News, Grove City, Pennsylvania last weekend about an informational meeting on drilling at Grove City College organized by the Wolf Creek Watershed and the Grove City College Environmental Club. The panel of experts speaking included a retired chemistry professor from Clarion University, a Penn State geologist, the director of operations of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities at the University of Pittsburgh and his colleague. There was also a local geologist who participated on a local panel.

    “For more information or to suggest other topics the public might want addressed, contact Sandra Karcher, president of the Wolfcreek Watershed Association, at 724-458-5849”

    Full account available for $0.50 at
    You can get the Saturday April 17, 2010 paper by cliking on Newstand papers or by seeing me.

  3. You are right, the apology made to BP by that Senator has exposed the senate for the fraud they are, and the Halliburton Drill Fracking – exemption – is about to be revoked, many people are going to seek claims for damages, and someone is going to prison >>> http://worldresarchnews.wordpress.com/ <<<<

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