Sunday, February 28, 2010

Titan Operating responds to lawsuit

Titan Operating has responded to the "breach of contract" law suit filed by the Monticello Homeowners Association in Southlake. They issued a general denial for every accusation listed in the lawsuit in which the homeowners are seeking a court order to block Titan from drilling within a 1,000 feet of association-owned land along Big Bear Creek. Click here for the Grapevine Courier article.

Here is the previous post on the lawsuit filed by the Monticello Homeowners Association.

Titan's proposed a new site 636 feet from a portion of MHOA's 60-acre common area. This area consists of tennis courts, jogging trails, a park and other recreational features in Southlake.
The lease, signed in late 2008, prohibits drilling within 1,000 feet of certain association-owned land. The new site would still be in breach of the original lease agreement. Titan is hoping to get a waiver from the MHOA.

Confusing, if Titan isn't in breach of the original lease agreement, then why are they seeking a waiver from the MHOA?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Flower Mound files appeal for eminent domain suit

The Dallas Morning News had a brief article on the Mockingbird/Williams Barnett Gathering System vs Town of Flower Mound eminent domain case Friday. The town has filed an appeal with the Texas Court of Appeals. This will be a closely watched case. Read below.

The Town of Flower Mound is seeking a Texas Court of Appeals ruling on whether a natural gas pipeline company can acquire an easement on municipal property through eminent domain.

Williams Barnett Gathering System began condemnation proceedings last month after the Flower Mound Town Council turned down the company's request for a 30-foot pipeline easement at a fire station located at FM 1171 and Shiloh Road.

The town filed an appeal Friday after Denton County Probate Judge Don Windle ruled that his court has jurisdiction to hear the case.

While pipeline companies have used the eminent domain to acquire easements on private property, Flower Mound contends that it has immunity from lawsuits. The case may set a legal precedent in Texas.

"We believe it eventually will have far-reaching consequences around Texas," said attorney Robert Brown, who is representing Flower Mound in the case

Cross Timbers Gazette also had a great article on the court case. Click here to read.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flower Mound Cares Petition Signing Events

Radioactive waste from oil and gas drilling more likely to occur in the Barnett Shale

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe from the Denton RC uncovered this danger of NORM in the Barnett Shale in an article written over two years ago! Read her article Gas Drilling's Dirty Side Effect

One factor is that organic-rich shale such as the Barnett Shale has higher levels of uranium. Another factor is the high level of salt in the wastewater produced along with the gas. As a gas well is producing, the variable pressure also helps free NORM from the shale, bond with other elements, such as barite and calcium carbonate, and travel to the surface along with the gas.

In this info sheet from the EPA, it addresses NORM naturally-occurring radioactive material and TENORM technologically-enhanced naturally-occurring radioactive material.

According to the EPA, not all wells or sites may have radioactive waste but the upper Midwest and the Gulf Coast (that would include the Barnett Shale) are more likely to have this problem.

The radiation comes from naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) in the underground rock and sediment. When companies drill for gas or oil, the produced fluids, including water, may contain radionuclides, primarily radium-226, radium-228, and radon. The radon gas may be released to the atmosphere, while the produced water and mud containing radium are placed in ponds or pits for evaporation, re-use, or recovery.

The radium brought up during drilling can also decay to radon gas, which a worker can inhale and can raise the risk of lung cancer. Radium-226 emits gamma radiation and the lead emits low-level energy gamma radiation and beta particles. Gamma radiation can also penetrate the skin and raise the risk of cancer. Following worker safety guidance will reduce total on-site radiation exposure.

We have talked about Radioactive Water before
Another North Texas Town Has Radioactive Water
Hudson Oaks Water is "Hot"
Produced Waste Water, Pipelines and Tank Batteries
Gas Drilling Produced Waste Water is Radioactive!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homeowners file lawsuit against Titan Operating

The Monticello homeowners association filed a law suit against Titan Operating in late January. The group consists of over 300 homeowners.

here to see article.

This will be the first well to be drilled in Colleyville.

We mentioned that Titan had asked more flexibility on air and noise regulations for this site. Interesting article about Titan.

As of Febrary 22, the
CAMRA site (another homeowner group that has signed leases with Titan) has a post stating that Titan has submitted a new site that will not be under 1000 feet from any home. See map of area here.

The original issue was the first site sits in Colleyville but is near the border of Southlake. Although the original site would be 1000 feet from the Colleyville residents, it will be under 1000 feet from some of the Southlake homes and their 60 acres common area.

In addition to that, the site is near a 21 acre flood plain.

No word yet whether the Montecello homeowners group has dropped their lawsuit.

Both Colleyville and Southlake require 1000 foot setbacks for houses, parks, and schools.

House explosion in Minnesota may be related to horizontal drilling

Crews from Centerpoint Energy were installing a telephone cable using the method of horizontal directional drilling. The problem is with so many pipelines and changes in the earth (settling and erosion) it is hard to be 100% sure of where the pipelines are.

The more pipelines the more difficult the process is. Here are a few paragraphs from the Minnesota Public Radio

It's known as horizontal directional drilling. Crews use small tractors with hydraulic rams to shove steel pipe through the ground -- instead of digging down from above with a shovel. It's a method cheaper and faster than other tactics.

But as good as the technology is, there's still no way to see what else is underground that might be in the way of their drilling. Sunderland's crew had to thread their way through gas lines, telephone wires, TV cable, sewer connections and even a sprinkler system.

Experts say there may be several such collisions -- called crossbores -- in every mile of underground pipe installation. Inspectors have found them in pipes leading to hospitals and schools.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reporters Notebook: Hydraulic Fracturing

This video is shocking. It is called Reporter's Notebook: Hydraulic Fracturing.

At about 3:39 in the video the, Lee Fuller, Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Association of America admits that even with best practices that contamination may occur. He said the cement casing will deteriorate over time, wells will need to be re-worked periodically and even when it done the cement may be flawed and there may still be failures.

No wonder the industry needs all those exemptions!

Click here to see the video.

New Group to Watchdog Texas Drilling Industry

Earthworks launched the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project TXOGAP today. During the launch they released their campaign platform, Drill Right Texas Best Oil & Gas Development Practices for Texas.

TXOGAP introduced the lead Texas OGAP Organizer, Sharon Wilson. Sharon Wilson is 4th generation Texan, a landowner and mineral owner who moved from Fort Worth to Wise County 15 years ago and lives adjacent to the LBJ National Grasslands. She was launched into activism by her quest to be the next Barnett Shale millionaire, which led her to the life changing EARTHWORKS publication, Oil and Gas at Your Door.”

Also on hand today at the launch were key experts on the impacts of oil and gas development on health, communities and the environment. They included:

Gwen Lachelt, EARTHWORKS OGAP Director
Calvin Tillman, Mayor of DISH, Texas
Kathy Chruscielski, founder of PARCHED
Don Young, founder of Fort Worth CANDO
Tim Ruggiero, Texas landowner;
Wilma Subra, EARTHWORKS board member; and,
State Representative Lon Burnham

Just to give you an idea on how important this group will be here in Texas. They were successful in lobbying for change in drilling regulations in New Mexico and Colorado. They have already started to make an impact here in Texas. Wilma Subra, a chemist and MacArthur Genius Award
recipient, who is also a board member of EARTHWORKS, recently conducted a health survey in DISH, Texas.

After presenting the results to the Dish Town Board and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and along with pressure from concerned citizens, TCEQ came out with the new same-day response policy to odor complaints from oil and gas facilities.

Click here for press release.

Key issues covered in the Drill Right Texas publication are:
  • Ensuring the integrity of private property rights for surface owners and surface users.
  • Enforcing and strengthening existing laws
  • Protecting Public Interest
TXOGAP is not an anti-drilling organization. They respect mineral rights owners and are concerned with "surface rights only" protection. TXOGAP will work toward better drilling practices to protect ALL landowners, people, wildlife, and our wonderful natural resources. Read the paragraph below.

Landowners in these areas and across Texas are struggling to produce their minerals and protect landowner rights,agriculture, environmental integrity, and recreational opportunities, all of which are important to our way of life. While this production provides economic benefit to many landowners, county governments and the State of Texas, it also results in many detrimental impacts to the people, lands and waters of our state.

To donate to the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project click here.

Interview with Josh Fox on Democracy Now

Josh Fox's Gasland is a must see movie. It will be screening on May 12, at the Modern Museum Theatre. We will have ticket info when available.

Josh Fox, Lisa Bracken, lives on a wildlife sanctuary near Divide Creek in Colorado and Joe Levine, co-founder of the groups
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and NY-H2O are featured in this interview for Democracy Now. Click here to see the interview.

Information on Candidates For The Open Railroad Commission Position

We have mentioned here many times how Texas leads the nation in most drilling activity and worst regulation.

The Railroad Commission regulates the oil and gas industry here in Texas. It is governed by three commissioners, who are elected statewide. Two Republicans and One Democrat will be running for one of the seats up for re-election. Click here to read an article on the candidates.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carter Avenue Rescue Operation

For almost two years, homeowners on Carter Avenue in Fort Worth have been fighting to keep a 16-inch un-odorized, highly corrosive, high pressure natural gas pipeline from being installed under their yards.


Please join CARO the new Facebook page to save Carter Avenue.

Texas envisioned as solar power leader

This is a promising article from the Dallas Morning News. With all the sun (not today though) and wind here in Texas, this just makes sense. This could greatly reduce the need for fossil fuels by using natural and renewable resources.

The article claims that Texas already leads the nation in producing wind power. You would never know that here in BS (Barnett Shale) Country.

Texas already leads the nation in producing wind power, and given its sunny climate, scientists say it has the capacity to dominate solar, too.

To help make that happen, solar advocates are urging the Texas Public Utility Commission to set solar usage requirements for electric retailers.

"We actually are a perfect environment, economically and thermodynamically, as a raw resource for solar, but it hasn't taken off," said Michael E. Webber, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas.

Click here to read the article

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sexual predators flock to energy boom towns

This is frightening. On top of environmental and health issues, it appears there is another danger of natural gas drilling..... the increase of sexual predators.

the study has found that twice to three times as many sexual predators are flocking to the boom towns as to nearby tourist, ranching and farming communities.

The researchers found that, per capita, the number of hospital beds was the same everywhere, but the number of sexual offenders had grown much more rapidly in the oil and gas towns than in those dependent on recreation or agriculture.

Click here to read the complete article. Be sure to check out the study that has a link in the article.

Gas Drillers Plead Guilty to Felony Dumping Violations

Michael Evens and John Morgan of Swamp Angel Energy pleaded guilty for dumping 200,000 gallons of brine. Swamp Angel Energy has 77 active wells in McKean County in the Allegheny National Forest.

The two were dumping the waste water in an abandoned oil well. Pennsylvania allows some of their waste treatment plants to take the brine. Most of these plants are at capacity.

The amount of drilling waste and what to do with it, is a huge problem with the natural gas industry all over the nation. The industry uses excessive amount of fresh water and turns it into toxic waste that has to be disposed of. Read a few paragraphs from the Propublica article.

Drilling wastewater is one of the biggest impediments to continued development in the Marcellus Shale (you can read our coverage of the wastewater problem here [5]). A Marcellus well can produce as much as 1.2 million gallons of wastewater, much of which is brine and can’t be treated in conventional municipal wastewater treatment plants. In the western United States, most drilling wastewater is injected deep into underground wells, but in the East, geology makes those wells trickier, and more expensive, to drill. Some plants in Pennsylvania are permitted to treat drilling wastewater, but most of them are already at capacity.

The lack of treatment options is expected to become even more critical in 2011, when the state has pledged to have stronger wastewater treatment regulations [6] in place, forcing some plants that currently accept drilling wastewater to make expensive upgrades or to stop accepting it entirely.

Some companies are trying to solve the problem by recycling and reusing their wastewater. (With recycling, the industry is still left with dirty, hard-to-deal-with wastewater, but there’s less of it.)

Click here to read the complete Propublica article.

What is the real cost to protect our town?

In many of the previous Town Council Meetings, some of the Council Members stressed that they made certain decisions regarding natural gas drilling based on the fear of the town getting sued.

The Town of Flower Mound spent $409,134 in median beautification including Grant Funds, Town Match, etc. All of this is still tax dollars.

The Town spent $30,973 in legal fees to defend itself in the first Red Oak 1 lawsuit , that represents roughly .0006% of annual 2008 expenses. Flower Mound triumphed in that lawsuit.

This town is our home, it is where we raise our families and want to retire. Many here have a lot invested in their homes and not just money. We are connected to our community and for some the community is like a family.

Just to put that in perspective, for a family which spends approximately $50,000 a year on expenses, that would be equivalent to $30 dollars to defend your family against a lawsuit. Would you spend $30 dollars to defend your family against a lawsuit?

Click here to see Flower Mound Budget.

Flower Mound Cares Petition Huge Success

Flower Mound Cares kicked off their petition drive this weekend with huge success. Residents came out in large numbers despite the chilly and sometimes wet weather. It was amazing. Many thanks to all who organized this endeavor and volunteered to make it happen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Click here to watch the video of Aruba Petroleum's operation on Tim and Christine Ruggiero's land and benzene in the Denton Creek Watershed. See the chemicals found on their land below.

To read more about Aruba Petroleum and the Ruggiero's. Click here to visit TXSHARON.

Who is policing gas transmission pipelines?

Gas transmission pipelines are everywhere. In fact 2 million miles of pipelines run throughout the United States. Click here to read an article about the gas industry is charged with policing itself. Pipeline operators perform their own inspections and file reports for federal officials to review.
This paragraph is alarming.

"There are so many pipelines, not all of them can be done at one time," said Damon Hill, spokesman with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the federal agency that inspects interstate pipelines.
The types of inspection include operation, maintenance and new construction. Some pipelines are tested for internal corrosion.
But there are very few independent inspectors in the field looking at pipes.
"It's more so looking at the records the operators are required to keep," Hill said

PHMSA requires pipeline owners to monitor their pipes for standards set by state and federal laws then file reports on what those self-inspections find.
It's a self-policing world.

GASLAND gets another award

GASLAND The Movie just won the Audience Choice Award at the Denton Thin Line Film Fest. They will be showing it again at 5:00 today, at the Campus Theatre located at 214 W. Hickory in Denton.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

UPDATE: Flower Mound Council Votes 4-0 to have representation

Today at the Town Council Meeting, the Council Members voted 4-0 in favor of having Terry Welch represent the town in the lawsuit with Mockingbird Pipeline. We are grateful that our elected officials listened to the majority of the community.

Friday, February 19, 2010

More Info on Mockingbird vs Town of Flower Mound

Mockingbird vs Town of Flower Mound. Eminent Domain. Case No. PR-2010-00050, Judge Don Windle.

We found that Judge Windle will not be seeking another term. During our research we found some information on him. He has been publicly reprimanded before. It was for appointing family and friends. He was accused of helping to promote Beverly McClure's Guardianship Services, his wife at the time. Read pages 26 through 30.

At some point in or before 2003, Judge Windle approached the Denton County
Commissioner’s Court about budgeting for a program that would provide
guardianship services for incapacitated persons

In late 2003, the Denton County Commissioners Court allocated $75,000 for a
guardianship program such as that which had been promoted by Judge Windle.

In late 2003, McClure began the process of establishing Guardianship Services,

On January 9, 2004, the entity was incorporated as a Texas nonprofit

He appointed his friend Rick Woolfolk to serve as a commissioner in eminent domain cases handled by Judge Windle’s court.

Rick Woolfolk, an investment broker with Raymond James in Denton County,
has been a friend and business partner of Judge Windle since approximately 1997.

Specifically, Judge Windle and Woolfolk have a limited partnership with a
corporate general partner that owns an airplane. Woolfolk also owns an option to
buy a one-half interest in the hangar housing the airplane. The company that
owns the hangar is Windle and Windle Investments, Inc., whose sole shareholder
is Judge Windle. Judge Windle also carries a debt owed to him by Woolfolk in
connection with Woolfolk’s ownership interest in the airplane.

During the period of time of their friendship and business association, Judge
Windle has appointed Woolfolk to serve as a commissioner in eminent domain
cases handled by Judge Windle’s court.

According to a Dallas Morning News article dated May 27, 2005, Woolfolk has
“received at least 47 appointments [as an eminent domain commissioner] worth
almost $30,000.”

In the same Dallas Morning News article, it was reported that Woolfolk’s
investment firm “also earns money, with Judge Windle’s approval, safeguarding
stocks belonging to dead or incapacitated people in probate court.”

Although Judge Windle disputed some of the facts asserted in the Dallas Morning
News article, he never challenged the accuracy of the reporter’s information when
it was published, nor at any time thereafter.

Click here to read about it in the Texas Bar Association Disciplinary Actions Newsletter. Go to page 5. Here is a paragraph from the newsletter.

Dallas Morning News published an article raising serious questions about the judge’s impartiality, integrity, and independence and casting public discredit upon the judiciary and administration of justice in Denton County. In reaching this conclusion, the commission
notes that Windle provided false and misleading information to the commission in his sworn written responses to the commission’s initial inquiry. Windle’s lack of candor to the commission proved to be an aggravating factor in reaching a final decision in this case.

One of those estates that they were paid to guard was under scrutiny because the will of the woman was revised while under court supervision. Click here to read the Dallas Morning News article. After the woman Erle Veatch died, it was found that Judge Windle and others were amoung the beneficiaries.

•Judge Windle, who was to receive $50,000.
•Beverly McClure, the court-appointed guardian of Ms. Veatch and Judge Windle's ex-wife and court investigator, who was to receive $100,000.
•Duane Coker, a court-appointed attorney who represented Ms. Veatch's interests, who was to receive $50,000.
•Roy Anderson, Judge Windle's personal accountant, friend and court-appointed guardian of the Veatch estate, who was to receive $50,000.
An additional $120,000 was used to cover court fees that Judge Windle approved for the appointees and their lawyers during the sisters' cases.

As mentioned the post below, Flower Mound’s Town Attorney, Terrence Welch, testified that, in his capacity, he has standing orders to vigorously defend our town in ALL lawsuits filed against the town. Those orders go back over 19 years that he has been Town Attorney.

Judge Windle has ordered Terry Welch, our Town Attorney to go back to Town Council and obtain a resolution authorizing him and his law firm to represent the town in this action.

So after 19 years of representing the town, now we need a resolution!


This explains what is going on at the meeting tomorrow
Mockingbird/Williams v. Town of Flower Mound

Mockingbird Pipeline/Williams Gas is suing the Town of Flower Mound in order to obtain eminent domain authority over land at Fire Station No.2 on Shiloh and 1171. They want to complete the pipeline that they are putting in for a gas transmission line and to complete that leg of the Central Collection Facility pipeline.

Williams and the town were in court all afternoon on Tuesday in Denton County Probate Court. The key argument on the side of Williams, through a Rule 12 motion, was that our Town Attorney and his law office did not have the authority to even represent the town against this land grab because the Council voted 2-2, Dixon and Wallace FOR and Filidoro and Hayden Against, to accept Williams offer of approx. $35,000 to take our land to complete their CCF pipeline.

Flower Mound’s Town Attorney, Terrence Welch, testified that, in his capacity, he has standing orders to vigorously defend our town in ALL lawsuits filed against the town. Those orders go back over 19 years that he has been Town Attorney.

In an extraordinary ruling, the probate court judge ordered the Town Attorney to go back to Town Council and obtain a resolution authorizing him and his law firm to represent the town in this action. Court will resume next week whereby the Town Attorney will be required to prove that he does represent the town in this action.

This has caused the Town Council to hold a special council meeting this Saturday morning at 9:00 am to take up the resolution allowing the town to defend itself against this lawsuit. We expect Hayden and Filidoro to vote in favor of the Town Attorney defending the town. We are concerned that despite them not having enough votes to allow a land grab, Dixon and Wallace will use this technicality to thwart the town from defending itself against Williams and Mockingbird. If they do, when court resumes next week, the town will not have any legal representation and thereby be left defenseless.

The result will be that Williams will be granted a default judgment against the town. This will result in Williams automatically being granted eminent domain to will immediately run their pipeline across town land for their Centralized Collection Facility (CCF).

If they can easily take the town’s land, how difficult will it be to take yours?

The meeting to decide this will be behind closed doors tomorrow at 9:00am. No public hearing is planned. However, after executive session, council will convene into open session in order to vote on this resolution.

Come to the meeting in green. Our presence will make it clear that we will not tolerate politicians who manipulate the process to gain favor for their gas company cohorts.

Congress launches investigation into gas drilling practices

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (Calif.) and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (Mass.) asked eight oil-field service companies today to provide information about chemicals used in a controversial drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing.

The industry receives broad exemptions from many of the EPA Environmental Statutes. In addition to the exemptions, the companies do not have to disclose what chemicals are in the formula for hydraulic fracturing fluid. this is called the "halliburton loophole".

The fluids used in hydraulic fracturing are laced with chemicals -- some of which are known carcinogens. And because the process is exempt from most federal oversight, it is overseen by state agencies that are spread thin and have widely varying regulations.

Click here to read more info from a Propublica article.

In 2004, the EPA examined hydraulic fracturing and determined it to be safe. The study played a big part in 2005 when Congress passed the "halliburton loophole" and granted many of the exemptions to the industry. This study was later discredited by a former EPA scientist and whistle blower Weston Wilson as stated in a previous propublica article.

The EPA gave hydraulic fracturing its stamp of approval in a 2004 report [1], but that study has been widely criticized as politically-motivated and scientifically unsound. After the report was released, veteran EPA scientist Weston Wilson wrote a letter [2] to Colorado representatives saying that "based on available science and literature, EPA’s conclusions are unsupportable." He also wrote that five out seven members of a panel that reviewed the findings had conflicts of interest and "may benefit from EPA’s decision not to conduct further investigation or impose regulatory conditions."

Click here to read the memorandum to members of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.
Click here to read the letter to Schlumberger.
Click here to read the letter to Halliburton.
Click here to read the letter to BJ Services.
Click here to read the letter to Universal Well Services.
Click here to read the letter to Calfrac Well Services.
Click here to read the letter to Sanjel Corp.
Click here to read the letter to Frac Tech Services.
Click here to read the letter to Superior Well Services.


SATURDAY, FEB. 20th & SUNDAY, FEB. 21st from 10am-6pm both days at the following locations:

Former Boomerangs Shopping Center
at the corner of 1171 & Morris

Wellington Amenities Center
3520 Furlong Dr East & Flower Mound Rd

Sagebrush West Office Park
Sagebrush & Long Prairie Rd

Kwik Car Wash
2801 Flower Mound Rd

Studio Art House
2608 Long Prairie Rd

**For everyone that will be coming out to sign the petition please bring a photo ID and if possible bring your voter registration card.

We will need the voter registration number for each person signing the petition. You can look up your voter registration id using by clicking here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who Benefits from Gas Drilling in Flower Mound?

Here is another great article by Ladd Biro. It is so good we just posted the whole article.
On August 10, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation imposed a $952,500 fine on Williams Gas Pipeline following a September 2008 natural gas pipeline rupture and subsequent fire in Appomattox, Virginia. Five people were injured, 23 families were evacuated and two homes were destroyed in the incident.

Last September, Cabot Oil & Gas was fined $56,650 and forced to suspend its hydraulic fracturing operations in Dimock Township, Pa., after spilling more than 8,000 gallons of a hazardous water/liquid gel mixture over nine days. Two months later, the state of Pennsylvania fined Cabot another $120,000 for contaminating 13 homeowner water wells. One of the wells blew up.

In the early morning hours of November 5, 2009, a pipeline owned by El Paso Natural Gas exploded in Bushland, Texas, destroying one home, damaging two others, and sending three people to the hospital. The explosion produced a 10-story fireball and a massive blaze visible from 20 miles away.

Other incidents tied to gas drilling, especially the fracturing process used to extract natural gas from shale formations, have been reported in Colorado, Wyoming, New York and elsewhere. In fact, over the past half-dozen years, more than 1,000 documented incidences of water contamination in the western U.S. have been linked to hydraulic fracturing.

Accidents happen. Even to Williams Production, the company at the epicenter of the drilling controversy now roiling the Town of Flower Mound.

Calling these catastrophic incidents to your attention doesn’t make me a fear-monger, an alarmist, a Communist, a tree hugger, unpatriotic or, worst of all ‘round these parts, a liberal.

Yet these and other less-savory epithets have been hurled at my fellow drilling opponents and me by the friendly folks who are relentlessly expanding their drilling operations closer and closer to our homes, schools and waterways.

Williams Production’s apologists – the vast majority of whom appear to be retired empty-nesters with substantial acreage on the west side of town – are fond of lecturing their younger neighbors about the many benefits drilling offers to “everyone.”

It’s funny how greed can cloud one’s perception.

Many of these same folks who years ago argued against the development of Bridlewood, Wellington and other higher-density neighborhoods in their beloved Flower Mound now get positively misty-eyed about the many blessings afforded by the drilling rigs, tanker trucks, storage tanks and compression facilities on or near their properties. They stand on their mineral rights soapboxes, draped in the U.S. Constitution, wagging their fingers at those who would dare keep them from exploiting the full value of their property.

But here’s the thing. Nobody I know would object to a landowner’s right to profit from his mineral rights so long as doing so does not encroach upon the rights of others. Want to allow Williams to use a controversial drilling method known as fracking hundreds of feet from your home? Have at it, my friend! Just don’t ask to build a massive collection facility across town to store the millions of gallons of toxic water produced by those wells. Don’t ask to run pipelines across my property to transport that toxic wastewater, either. Don’t expect the homeowners who abut your land to compromise their personal safety when Williams seeks to violate the town’s 1,000-foot setback ordinance by drilling within a few hundred feet of their back yards.
You may not be overly concerned about open gas valves, pipeline ruptures, storage tank explosions or other accidents that could threaten the health and safety of your fellow Flower Mound residents. It’s easy to gamble when you’re receiving hefty royalty checks from Williams each month.

Pardon us if we don’t pledge our allegiance to your sugar daddy.

The sad truth is Williams’ duty is to its shareholders. Your personal welfare and Flower Mound’s long-term survival are not their concern. Sure, you’re getting paid handsomely for your trouble. After all, you deserve to be compensated for permanently spoiling your beautiful land.

All the while, the robber barons from Tulsa will smile and tell you exactly what you want to hear, because they’re desperate to get to the huge deposits of natural gas that lie a mile beneath your property.

Ever wonder what their rush is? After all, the gas has been there for thousands of years, and it’s not going anywhere.

Here are just a few reasons:

1. Natural gas futures prices are trending up. Given the unpredictability of the markets, Williams needs to cash in while times are good. If gas prices suddenly plunge, as they did in mid-2008, drilling in the Barnett Shale may no longer be profitable. The pressure is surely intensifying at Williams headquarters after the company disappointed Wall Street with its fourth-quarter results.

2. Regulatory pressures are mounting. The U.S. Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency have recently begun re-thinking the wisdom of the "Halliburton Loophole," which exempts oil and gas companies from having to comply with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and a host of other laws designed to protect public health. In addition, a bill known as the “FRAC Act,” now pending in Congress, would lift the veil of secrecy on the contents of the wastewater produced by the fracking process. Williams knows that being forced to reveal the 250-plus toxic chemicals it uses to frack its wells would be a public relations nightmare. Having to post “hazardous materials” placards on dozens of trucks rumbling down Flower Mound’s neighborhood roads might stoke the natives’ outrage even more.

3. The citizens have woken up, and they’re organizing quickly. While the vast majority of Flower Mound residents weren’t paying attention, Williams convinced the town’s Oil & Gas Board of Appeals to approve variances on all but one of the 32 wells it has drilled, according to recent public testimony. In other words, the “exemplary” restrictions our Town Council put in place to protect its citizens, trumpeted at every opportunity by Mayor Jody Smith and her fellow drilling advocates on the Council, have been waived to accommodate nearly every well Williams has drilled in Flower Mound! It makes you wonder what good it is to have regulations in the first place. It also raises questions as to why these variances are so routinely granted, at least for Williams.

It’s been well-publicized that Mayor Smith and Mayor Pro Tem Jean Levenick have leased their mineral rights to Williams. So has Carlos Cabre, a member of the Oil & Gas Board of Appeals who was dismissed from his position earlier this week after failing to recuse himself from votes concerning Williams.

Meanwhile, attorney Jeff Tasker, a member of the Town Council from 2005 to 2009, has been retained as a representative by Williams and is regularly seen at public sessions of the council alongside his deep-pocketed clients. Well now, isn’t that special?

Is Tasker now assisting Williams in its pending lawsuit against the town he formerly served? Is Cabre about to be invited into the Williams fraternity? Inquiring minds want to know.

Something stinks in Flower Mound, and it’s not just the toxic emissions coming from the wells.
It’s gotten so bad that even some homeowners who signed contracts with Williams have begun speaking out in opposition to the company’s proposals. They complain about misrepresentations, errors of omission, and outright lies told by representatives of the company.
They’ve done the calculations and figured out that the checks they receive from Williams amount to chump change when compared to the decline in their homes’ market values. They worry about reports of hazardous levels of cancer-causing benzene detected at sites across the Barnett Shale. They’ve met many of the five kids and two adults in Flower Mound who’ve been diagnosed with leukemia since 2005.

They’ve heard that Texas has 273,600 wells and only 106 regulators to oversee them. Each well is inspected just once every three years, on average, according to the Texas Railroad Commission. That means the gas industry is, for all practical purposes, responsible for policing itself.

That’s all well and good when they’re drilling in the middle of nowhere. But when the wells come within a few hundred feet of homes, schools and parks, the margin for error is unacceptably thin.

As we’ve seen, accidents happen. Even to Williams, as the fine folks in Appomattox, Va., can attest.

Nobody wants the next catastrophic natural gas accident to occur in Flower Mound. Nobody wants another child to be diagnosed with leukemia.

That’s why the concerned citizens of Flower Mound are banding together in a battle for the town’s future. This weekend, the Flower Mound Cares Petition Association, a non-profit civic organization, officially kicks off a petition drive seeking a temporary moratorium on the approval of permits for new pipelines and centralized collection facilities. We want to be certain that before Williams goes any further, proper safeguards are in place to protect public health and safety. Signatures from roughly 5,600 registered voters are needed within 45 days to force the Town Council to enact the moratorium or put the issue up for popular vote.

Volunteers will be manning information booths and petition-signing stations at sites across town between 10 AM and 6 PM Saturday and Sunday. Those interested in more detail, as well as a list of petition-signing locations, may visit or join the Flower Mound Cares Facebook group at:

Drilling is enriching a few property owners in Flower Mound, along with an Oklahoma-based gas conglomerate and its legion of lawyers, consultants and lobbyists. For all its efforts, the Town of Flower Mound earned a paltry $521,000 in fees and incremental property taxes in 2009. The rest of us are left with a plethora of short- and long-term risks, both known and unknown.
It’s not worth it.

It’s time to make a stand.

Ladd Biro is a marketing agency owner by day, and syndicated sports columnist by night, who has lived in Flower Mound since 2002. He can be reached at

Range Resources Drilling Operation Denton, TX

Tennis anyone?

How about a picnic at the park?

Take your kids to the park and let them get some fresh air.

A friend who lives next to the Range Resource drilling site in Denton sent us these pictures and video.
Click here for the video

Special Flower Mound Town Council Meeting, Sat, 2/20, 9:00am

The Flower Mound has called a special meeting for Saturday, 2/20, 9:00 am.

Click here for the agenda.

Williams recently filed a law suit over access to Town property for a pipeline. This meeting is to set a resolution to allow the Town Attorney to represent Flower Mound in a law suit over eminent domain.


Gasland: The Movie

Last night, Gasland opened the Denton Thin Line Film Festival. What an amazing film. Josh Fox takes you on a journey through America's Gasland. He shows you the real horror story with large doses of compassion, reality, and humor.

After the viewing, the theater guests were treated
to a question and answer session with Josh and some of the "Gasland" residents.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why did Lewisville ISD say NO after saying yes to Flower Mound Cares?

There is no other way to put it. It is 2 1/2 days until the petition drive and LISD is just now saying they can't let Flower Mound Cares use their parking lots?

When we get the new locations, we will post it.

From the Flower Mound Cares facebook page
After receiving permission (yes we have correspondence) to hold petition drives at area school parking lots, we just received word from assistant superintendent Larry Wilson that the school board has reconsidered and we can't use the school parking lots because it is not related to s......chool business. The girl scouts must be part of the school since they are using the Marcus parking lot this weekend. We are working to find alternative locations. All ideas and offers for sites are needed and welcome. When we have additional sites we will post them at as well as here.We knew the town would make this difficult for our concerns to be addressed but if we continue working together we will make this drive happen

Folks, It's true that we received notification this morning that LISD's attorney decided that we could not use their parking lots after all. But, we knew this fight would be tough, and we began an immediate regrouping operation. So, we have nailed down some new locations (which we believe will be immune to any possible... political pressure) and we will be announcing them later today. Also, our volunteer training session is still scheduled from 6-9 PM tomorrow evening at the restaurant commnicated to you via email from FM Cares petition Group. So stay tuned, read the local papers, watch the local news and stay motivated. Our motives are pure, our cause is just, how can we fail?

Are the Girl Scouts part of LISD? Interesting, after 14 years of having children attend LISD schools that is the first I heard of that. (nothing against the girl scouts, I was one many years ago). Also, community sport organizations (soccer, baseball, basketball) use the schools as well. Are they part of the school too?

Why would they not want to support a community organization like Flower Mound Cares? Our children go to their schools and our taxes go to their budget. Aren't we part of the school? At least that is what I believed after listening to representatives of the school board who asked for support of a future tax increase to help their budget.

LISD has signed leases under just about every one of their properties. Did they even think about the potential health issues for our children? I guess those "royalties" haven't come in the mail yet and maybe they want to make sure they do.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Texas sues EPA

Governor Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced in this press release, a lawsuit against the EPA over a declaration that carbon dioxide emissions constitute a threat to public health. This declaration could bring stronger government enforcement of the carbon dioxide emissions.

The Star Telegram reports:

The suit was filed in Washington in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The state will also file a "petition for reconsideration" with the Environmental Protection Agency calling on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to review her declaration.

Texas is the #1 carbon polluter in the United States. In an CBS News article, Governor Perry's spokeswoman, Allison Castle even acknowledged that.

"Being that Texas is a heavily populated state, that it is the leading producer of energy, has the largest refining capacity and has the largest petrochemical industry in the nation, it would be expected that we would have the largest total of greenhouse gases in the country," Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said.

Of course Perry's eagerness to sue the EPA doesn't have anything to do with the following endorsements he has received from the Gas and Oil Industry.

Click here to see the endorsement from the Texas Oil and Gas Association President.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association president endorsed Rick Perry for governor, citing his "efforts to combat potentially crippling cap-and-trade legislation threatened by Washington."
"I am proud to endorse Rick Perry for re-election and I am certain that our state, and the oil and gas industry in particular, will continue to thrive under his guidance in years to come," said association president Rob Looney.

Click here to see the endorsement from the Texas Chemical Council

Texas Chemical Council Endorses Rick Perry for Governor for re-election.

TCC President and CEO Hector L. Rivero said the following:

"As a major economic engine since the 1940s, the chemical industry is among the first high-tech industries in Texas and continues to be an innovator through advanced research and development.
"Our products improve the quality of life of every American and millions of people around the world. Governor Perry's leadership to lower taxes, pass meaningful tort reforms, and provide a fair and balanced regulatory system has enabled the Texas chemical industry to compete in the global economy and keep high paying jobs and investment in Texas."

That fair and balanced regulatory system is the Texas Railroad Commission. You know the state agency whose elected officials are allowed to take a majority of their campaign donations from very industry they are suppose to regulate. The state agency whose inspectors can take gifts from the very industry that they are suppose to regulate.

here to read how Texas leads the nation for the most drilling activity and the worst regulation!

flower Mound Cares Petition Drive to Impose a Moratorium

Flower Mound Cares will hold the petition drive this weekend 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday. It will take place at the following elementary schools.

Bridlewood, Donald, Forest Vista, Liberty, Old Settlers, Prairie Trail and Wellington.

We do not have a copy of the petition yet but we are told it will request a moratorium on all applications for SUP's (specific use permits) for CCF Centralized Collection Facilities, Natural Gas Production Facilities and wastewater pipelines. It will include a repeal of the amendments made to the Oil and Gas Pipeline Ordinance.

Darlene Casey, co founder of Flower Mound Cares, was quoted in Chris Roark's
recent Flower Mound Star article.

“The goal of this petition is to either have the council yield to the will of its citizens or force a special election to allow the citizens their opportunity to speak,” Casey said. “This moratorium will provide for sufficient and appropriate time to consider and possibly draft a new ordinance that is more sensitive to all who are in our town.”
Casey said Tuesday that the group is seeking about 6,000 signatures in 45 days.

Flower Mound Cares still needs volunteers. If you would like to help, please send an e-mail to or go to their website for more information.

Why don't tanker trucks carrying drilling waste water have to display "hazardous" placards?

Oil and gas drilling waste is exempt so they don't have to consider it as hazardous.

Earthworks has put together a great brochure called The Oil and Gas Industry’s Exclusions and Exemptions to Major Environmental Statutes. It goes through each act and the exemptions that the industry receives.

The answer to the question above lies in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976 is currentlydivided into 10 subchapters: I through X, comprising four interrelatedprograms for the management of hazardous waste and solid waste found atSubchapters III, IV, IX, and X. Subchapter III, commonly referred to asSubtitle C, creates a federal “cradle-to-grave” hazardous waste managementprogram. Subchapter IV, commonly referred to as Subtitle D, encouragesstates to develop comprehensive plans to manage primarily nonhazardoussolid wastes (e.g., household waste). Subchapter IX, commonly referred toas Subtitle I, regulates the use and monitoring of underground storage tanks.Subchapter X, commonly referred to as Subtitle J, establishes regulations formedical waste from the time it is generated until the time it is disposed.

Congress defined hazardous waste in RCRA § 1004(5), but left the EPA todecide through a Regulatory Determination the specific characteristics ofhazardous waste and to promulgate lists of wastes meeting thosecharacteristics.9 The definition of a hazardous waste under RCRA § 1004(5)is as follows:

[A] solid waste, or combination of solid wastes, which because of itsquantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristicsmay-

A. cause, or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or anincrease in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or

B. pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or theenvironment when improperly treated, stored, transported, ordisposed of, or otherwise managed.10

In 1978, the EPA issued proposed hazardous waste guidelines andregulations as requested by Congress. At this time, the agency was poisedto consider oil field wastes as “special wastes” under Subtitle C. However,Congress responded to these proposed regulations with the Solid WasteDisposal Act (SWDA) in 1980, which exempted oil field wastes from SubtitleC entirely until the EPA could prove these wastes were a danger to humanhealth and the environment. In 1988, the EPA's Regulatory Determinationultimately agreed with Congress’ decision to exempt oil field wastes due tothe “adequate” state and federal regulations already in place and the costsand economic impacts to the petroleum industry should it be regulated underSubtitle C.11

Despite the considerable regulatory changes by EPA regarding the regulationof oil field waste in determining that it was not hazardous enough to beregulated under Subtitle C, the 1988 Regulatory Determination provides acomprehensive list of wastes excluded from and included within the scope ofthe oil field waste exemption. A helpful article from the Director and SeniorStaff Attorney at the Railroad Commission of Texas summarizes these lists.Oil field wastes typically fall into the following categories:

1) Produced waters-mineralized waters produced with and then separatedfrom oil and gas.
2) Drilling fluids-mixtures of water, clay, barite, and other additivesused in drilling wells.
3) Associated wastes-other wastes uniquely associated with drilling andproduction operations, such as crude oil tank bottoms (e.g., oil,sediment, and water).12

In addition, the Regulatory Determination clarifies the meaning of RCRA §3001(b)(2)(A)'s exemption for “other wastes associated with the exploration,development or production of crude oil or natural gas” by stating that such“other wastes” include “rigwash, drill cuttings, and wastes created by agentsused in facilitating the extraction, development, and production of theresource, and wastes produced by removing contaminants prior to thetransportation or refining of the resource.”13

Further clarification by the EPA in 1993 provides a rule of thumb fordetermining if certain oil field wastes fall within the RCRA exemption. Itstates, “Since 1987, the terms uniquely associated and intrinsic have beenused as interchangeable synonyms in various documents in reference to oiland gas wastes qualifying for the exemption from Subtitle C regulation…Asimple rule of thumb for determining the scope of the exemption is whetherthe waste in question has come from down-hole (i.e., brought to the surfaceduring oil and gas E & P operations), or has otherwise been generated bycontact with the oil and gas production stream during the removal ofproduced water or other contaminants from the product (e.g., wasteemulsifiers, spent iron sponge). If the answer to either question is yes, the waste is most likely considered exempt.”14

In many cases, these “other” wastes contain known carcinogens such asbenzene, toluene, and xylene. The effect of the RCRA exemption is to allowthese deadly chemicals that are otherwise considered hazardous within thesame statute to permeate the earth and water sources poisoning the publicand the environment. For example, waterfowl, wildlife, and livestock may beattracted to open pits and tanks used to store and/or dispose of oil, producedwater, or separate oil from produced water. The risks posed to wildlife havebeen documented in numerous studies. In Wyoming, the U.S. Fish andWildlife Service has found deer, pronghorn, waterfowl, songbirds, and rabbitsin these open pits and tanks. Even if the animals are not killed in theseareas, the oil and chemicals can have debilitating health effects.15 Despite afew state regulations pertaining to oil and gas field wastes, it is typical forthe oil and gas industry to dispose of these wastes in earthen pits and on-siteburial.16 The potential for migration of contaminants in the soil and watersources in these areas is at the very least concerning to those who live in theoil and gas patches.

Relying on 1985 data, the EPA estimated that 70,000 oil and gas wells and800,000 active production sites generated 361 million barrels of drillingwaste, 20.9 billion barrels of produced waters, and 11 million barrels ofassociated wastes, such as workover fluids and tank bottoms.17 Considering the exponential growth of the oil and gas industry over the past 20 years, itis time regulators focus on the adequacy of existing regulations to protecthuman health and the environment from the real and potential dangers ofthe oil and gas industry’s waste.

To protect human health and the environment, oil field wastes must beregulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in orderto ensure the proper handling and disposal of hazardous andcarcinogenic wastes generated by oil and gas development.Otherwise, the petroleum industry will continue to dispose of oil fieldwaste in ways that can pollute soil, surface and groundwater.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Range Resources Operations in Dention

Click here to see a video of Range Resources Operations in Denton. This pad site is next to a park, hospital, a nursing home and a densely populated neighborhood. This is what Urban Drilling looks like!

Flower Mound, this is coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Who regulates Wastewater pipelines?

An article in the Denton Records Chronicle addresses that question. It seems there isn't any real regulation or rule-making authority over wastewater pipelines. Click here to read the article.

The state has detailed standards for disposal wells but lacks rule-making authority over wastewater pipelines, state officials said last month in Lantana during a public meeting on Williams’ plans.

The railroad commission’s pipeline safety division does not inspect wastewater lines, officials said at the meeting. The commission’s oil and gas division would respond only if the pipes leaked and cleanup was required, they said.


REMINDER; Town Council Meeting, Monday, 2/15, 5:30 pm

Please wear GREEN to show solidarity. We want to show the town council that we are not going away.

Flower Mound Cares Petition members will be there, they will have announcement to make. They will have the sign up sheet for the upcoming petition signing events on Feb 20 & 21st.

Click here for the council meeting agenda.

IMPORTANT: Flower Mound Cares Needs Volunteers

Flower Mound Cares petition drive still needs some volunteers to help at the signing locations. They are asking for just 2 hours of your time. The preservation of our great town is worth saving. See the letter below for contact info.

Click here for printable flyer to share with your friends and neighbors.

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am writing to you today to ask for your help.
We are kicking off our petition drive next weekend and desperately need volunteers and to get the word out. This is where we are hoping you can help us.

Below is the information about our upcoming petition drive and I have attached a flyer that can be used to get the word out. If you or anyone you know might be interested in volunteering to work our signing events please feel free to forward them this information or send me an email at . We need about 10 volunteers per day per location. We only have 6 days left until the petition signing kickoff and there is still a ton of work to do to make this happen. So, any amount of assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated and needed!

Please feel free to print out the attached flyer and distribute to as many people as you can to help us get the word out about our event.

You can also find more information at our website at

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20th & SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21st from 10am-6pm both days at the following locations:

Bridlewood Elementary
Donald Elementary
Forest Vista Elementary
Liberty Elementary
Old Settlers Elementary
Prairie Trail Elementary
Wellington Elementary


If you are able to volunteer to work at one of the above locations please email the following information to

Name:Phone: Days you can work:

locations you can work:

Shifts you can work: 10-12,12-2,2-4 or 4-6

*All volunteers must be 18 years old**

You do not need to be a citizen or registered voter to be a volunteer.

Thanks so much for your help!!

Pam York
Flower Mound Cares Petition Committee

Mayor Tillmans Response to the Energy In Depth Quesitons

The following is a press release from Energy In Depth who poses seven questions to me. My response to each question is in bold and follows their questions.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Contact: Jeff Eshelman • 202-857-4774 •
Chris Tucker • 202-346-8825 •

Jeff and Chris,

I thank you for your interest in the happenings in the town of DISH, TX. I would like answer the questions that you have posed below, and would also like to personally invite you to DISH, TX, for a guided tour. I have outlined your seven questions and my answers will appear in bold after the questions. However, I must first start with your opening comments which contains several inaccurate statements.

First and foremost there has been no "debunking" of the air study performed here in DISH, at least not by anyone who is not getting a check from one of the energy companies. Furthermore, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has validated the findings here in and DISH, and went as far as to write an internal memo highlighting the health effects from this study, showing their concerns for the levels detected. The TCEQ has performed additional air studies in DISH and oddly enough found benzene at elevated levels.

The second item is your assertion that I do not see the positive effects of the shale plays. Just a couple of years ago the Barnett Shale added 10 billion dollars and 100,000 jobs to the economy for the State of Texas. That is an impact that no one can ignore, and I state this in every presentation that is given on the subject by me. I do not wish to see people lose their jobs, or the owners of the mineral lose their royalty checks. Why can we not make this a win-win situation? What if we could have that economic impact and those jobs, and do it more responsibly and respectfully than we are doing it? Do we have to trade our air quality, water quality and property rights for this economic gain? The answer is no...we do not.

The next item is that you expect me to back away from my relationship with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP). The things that OGAP stands for, and are trying to help reform are: surface owners rights, water quality, and air quality. For some reason I don't find it too repulsive that someone is trying to keep our water safe to drink, our air safe to breath, and give surface owners in a split estate a little more say so in what happens on their land that they worked hard to purchase. The industry may not like them, because they have had some success getting reasonable regulation in other states. I have not heard of the "filthy form of energy" comment; however; it is clear that the cleanest burning hydrocarbon does not come out of the ground that way. It has to go through a processing facility to remove the liquid hydrocarbons and other impurities. Unfortunately in Texas those contaminants are irresponsibly dumped into the environment. Could you please provide me with a copy of the article the quote was used in? I suspect this might be a story that keeps getting bigger as it passed down through the industry extremists.

1) Mr. Mayor, your assertion that local natural gas exploration activities have adversely impacted the air quality of your town appears to be entirely founded on a study you commissioned by a group called Wolf Eagle Environmental. Are you aware that TCEQ conducted an internal review of this study and found that “it is not possible” to draw the types of conclusions that appear in that report?

This statement is completely false. The TCEQ has never publicly said anything even remotely close to this, and any internal review only validated the findings. I will have copies of the internal reviews with me in New York (NY) and will happily provide a copy to you personally should you wish. The TCEQ has done many things to discredit themselves, but even they would not make the above statement.

2) Mr. Mayor, are you aware that Wolf Eagle Environmental was formerly known as Wolf Eagle Environmental Engineers & Consultants – but was forced to change its name upon it becoming public that the organization did not (and, in fact, still does not) employ an actual licensed professional engineer on staff?

This matter has been brought up by several industry extremists, who are looking to personally attack a very knowledgeable and credible person. The president of Wolf Eagle has a PhD in Environmental and Civil Engineering, in addition to a Masters in Public Health. She is also far more nationally recognized as an environmental expert that anyone who works for TCEQ, or the oil and gas industry. She is commonly asked to serve on national committees, and came highly recommended from several others who had PhD in their title. The environmental expert for one of the energy companies, isn't even smart enough to send an email, so we are way ahead of them. I think the industry has tried to vilify her, because she does not work for them, and her studies are honest and valid, and the common person trusts her. Therefore, she poses a threat to the hap-hazard way they are doing business in Texas. Plain and simple, she works for the little guy, the Davids who are facing Goliaths, and the industry views anyone who would help the underdog get justice, as a threat.

3) Mr. Mayor, is it true that once the Wolf Eagle evaluation was debunked, you accepted an offer from the national Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) to fund a second study of a similar type? Is it true that OGAP links are found on your town website? Are you aware that OGAP considers clean-burning natural gas a “filthy” energy source, and was in fact established as a means to fight natural gas exploration wherever, whenever and however it takes place?

Again the Wolf-Eagle air study was not debunked, but rather it was validated through several other studies. Unless you consider the attack from the Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman Victor Carrillo, a real sharp cookie I might add :), who was ready to blame all of our air problems on a tiny airport that stores more high end motor homes than it does airplanes, and houses nothing that would cause the 16 toxins found in DISH. However, the sixteen toxins found here are typically found in oil and gas operations. Maybe he and you should do a little more research before you make fools out of yourselves. However, the real question is regarding my relationship with OGAP, which I will not back away from. A true national hero and MacArthur award winner helped us perform a health assessment on the citizens of DISH, which showed some cause for concern. However, she does this for many small communities around the country; again a genius and a hero. There are several links on the town's website to help folks gather information on oil and gas issues including OGAP. Not sure why this would be a concern to you, most cities have similar links on their websites as well, if your company was a legitimate source of this information, we might add you as well, but you have a ways to go before you become legitimate. From the statement above, please provide me a source of the tall tale "filthy energy" comment.

4) Mr. Mayor, have you had the chance to take a look at TCEQ’s recent air quality study of the areas in and around the Barnett Shale? If so, did you note that of the 94 sites tested by TCEQ, 92 registered short-term effects screening levels (ESL) well below anything that would cause “alarm,” according to TCEQ’s toxicology director? Are you also aware that repairs at the remaining two sites tested by TCEQ have already been completed and certified by the agency?

As a matter of fact I printed the entire 313 page report and have been going through it page by page. Unfortunately, my schedule has not allowed me to complete my report on the document, but I will provide it to you upon completion. If you actually read the document (which I am certain you have not) you will see that the "94 sites", are counting each individual sample that was taken. Some may have been upwind, while others were downwind, and so forth. Therefore, each facility may have had numerous samples taken. Actually, there were only 44 separate facilities tested and half of those had benzene levels that were above the long term effects screening levels, not to mention the many other harmful toxins that were detected. There have also been reports that these facilities were only producing a third of their potential output, and even in TX, the weather is mild in October and November, so this study is in no way the worse case scenario. Wait till you see the numbers from July or August, they will be much worse. However, if the average person read the entire 313 page report, even though it is likely lower than reality, they would be shocked and realize there is an immediate danger in this area. I will bring the document with me to NY to show anyone who has questions about it.

5) Mr. Mayor, you testified on numerous occasions that energy operators in your area are responsible for the emission of benzene and other potential contaminants into the air. But did you know that the mere act of filling up your tank with a conventional gas pump (one without a vapor recovery device) could expose you to benzene levels of 11,000 parts per billion (ppb), according to TCEQ -- without any ambient air to dilute it? Are you aware that not even the Wolf Eagle study was able to find a single site in your area exceeding 78 ppb?

It is nice that you recognize the fact that we had some pretty high levels of benzene detected around the natural gas compressor stations. If you are suggesting that the levels detected in DISH do not pose a health risk, I am afraid that you are horribly mistaken, and there is no expert that would agree with that, even the industry extremists wouldn't make that stretch. I am not sure about the exposure levels of filling up my car with gas. However, as you mentioned there are vapor recovery devices to help minimize the exposure, and I would like to see that same vapor recovery technology used on emission sources in the oil and gas industry. I am glad you have highlighted the importance of vapor recovery and hope your suggestion helps in making that technology mandatory. This technology actually saves both money and this precious resource, and cuts up to 95% of the emissions produced by these sites. Why don't we use this simple and effective technology? Please note that the benzene levels are constant here, not just once for two minutes every couple of weeks, it is here 24/7. Also, the long term effects screening level for benzene is 1.4 ppbv, and therefore we detected over 50 times that level on residential properties where children reside. Would you want your children exposed to this 24/7?

6) Mr. Mayor, are you aware that according to EPA, “oil and natural gas production contributes only 2% of the total benzene emissions in the U.S., and shale gas represents a very small subset of this 2%”?

I have heard similar statements before, and do not wish to dispute this, because I am sure that other industries also pollute their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, for the citizens of DISH, part of that 2% is right here. It does however appear that this is one of those statistics that was carefully extracted from a larger report. Have you by chance read the report that this was extracted from? Please provide me with this report, and know that it may be changing because the EPA has been to DISH a couple of times.

7) Mr. Mayor, did you know that energy exploration is responsible for directly employing more than 200,000 people in your state? Accounts for the payment of more than $44 million in royalties and rents to landowners every year? And sends more than $4 billion each year to your treasury, representing nearly seven percent of your entire budget? Here in Upstate New York, we aren’t trying to be the next Texas – but can you understand how the availability of even a fraction of these new resources could help revive and strengthen our economy?

Yes, I am well aware of the economic impact that the Barnett Shale has had in TX. Actually, as I have stated the numbers you are quoting are a low estimation. However, I consistently give the industry credit in that area, and do not wish to see people or the state lose those jobs. Frankly, there are many who work in this industry that I personally like. However, we can do this better that the way they are doing it in TX. If NY can get ahead of this, and get reasonable regulations in place, there is a possibility that you can get the great economic impact without destroying the land, air and water in the process. I am not going to NY to talk anyone out of drilling, but rather to inform them of what has happened here and give them some ideas as they move forward. Hopefully, they will make the decision knowing the whole story, not the industry version of the "gold rush". My goal is to let them make the decision with their eyes wide open, not eyes wide shut. What happened here does not have to happen in NY. You could get a win-win situation, let's give it a try anyway.

I hope that this helps you in answering many of the questions you have posed. If not I could further clarify. And although I do not use words like sanguine, my knowledge level on shale gas far outweighs most of those who work in the industry, including yourself. It certainly appears that rather that perform valid research, you are simply regurgitating the personal attacks that I have become accustomed to from this industry. I truly hope that when the benzene clears, that we will all be better off for this. I hope that the people of NY can reach the full benefits of the Marcellus Shale without the extreme side effects. I also hope that these simple measures will be mandated in Texas as well. It can be done; however, this industry must quit stating what good neighbors they are and start acting it

Calvin Tillman

Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640

"Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it"