Fox 40 WICZ TV
Friday, February 19, 2010
Mayor Calvin Tillman says town officials in DISH, TX, had big ideas about what natural gas wells like these could bring to the area.
"Jobs, prosperity -- most of the things the folks in the Marcellus Shale are probably thinking about right now," said Tillman.
Tillman says drilling into the Bartlett Shale has cost the town as much as it's gained.
DISH's web site provides information about about its noise problem and air quality study -- which found several toxins related to gas production.
Sixty percent of residents who filled out a health questionnaire reported symptoms known to be related to those toxins.
"Watery eyes, sore throat, severe headaches, nausea, neurological problems," Tillman said.
Tillman was invited to the area by the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition. He plans to talk to residents about urging state lawmakers to pass regulations to protect the environment if drilling is approved in New York.
A local environmental defense lawyer says getting these regulations passed depends on team work from both sides of the issue.
"The economy vs. the environment, landowners vs. everyone else -- these are false dichotomies, and there's one water table that everyone's drinking from," said Helen Slottje, a managing attorney with the Community Environmental Defense Council, Inc.
Above all, DISH's mayor says the Southern Tier shouldn't rush into drilling.
"Slow down," said Tillman. "Slow down and think about it. Think it through, make sure that you put every precaution in place you can before you start."
It's a lesson Tillman says his town learned the hard way.
Residents voted just this week for a 90-day moratorium on new drilling permits.