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 they 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 by 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 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”, regurgitating 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.
Mayor, DISH, TX
"Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it"