Gas Drilling & Compressor Plants in DISH, TX Not Poisoning Local Population

Since February of this year, Mayor Calvin Tillman from DISH, Texas has visited—several times—the Marcellus Shale regions of New York and Pennsylvania, sponsored by groups like Shaleshock and other anti-drilling organizations. Mayor Tillman claims that his small town in Texas, north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area, has been contaminated by shale gas drilling. DISH is located in the Barnett Shale deposit. Some of the drilled gas wells are within the city limits, and others sit just outside of town. MDN attended one of Mayor Tillman’s presentations back in February and you can read about my impressions here. It’s a fair statement that Mayor Tillman has been a popular speaker for those opposed to drilling in the Marcellus Shale, drawing sizable crowds.

One of the claims made by Mayor Tillman in his talks is that either local gas wells, or the compressor plants used to pressurize shale gas for area pipelines, or both is polluting DISH and its citizens. DISH is unusual in that there are 11 large pipelines in the DISH area, far more than normally found in a single location (the most in one area for shale gas that MDN is aware of). Odors are coming from the compressor plants, so it’s certainly not a stretch to think that if you can smell it, it may be polluting or causing harm. That was Mayor Tillman’s suspicion, so he used city funds to conduct environmental testing in the DISH area, and separately another organization performed a health “survey” of current and former DISH residents (for free). Problem is, both the environmental testing and the health survey were flawed in their methodologies, which casts doubt on the findings. So the Texas Department of State Health Services stepped in to do a scientific health study using blood and tissue samples.

Agency officials collected biological samples from 28 Dish residents in late January to see whether levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their blood were higher than those in the broader population. “We were looking to see whether a single contaminant or a handful of contaminants were notably elevated in many or all of the people we tested,” said Dr. Carrie Bradford, the toxicologist who led the investigation.*

And what was the conclusion of the Department of State Health?

Texas health officials found no connection between pollution from a natural gas compressor station in Dish, Texas and levels of toxins in the blood of people living nearby.*

The new report from the Department of State Health Services says levels of benzene and other contaminants was no higher in Dish residents than in the nation’s population in general.**

MDN wonders if the now less than credible Mayor Tillman will still be such a large draw when he comes calling again?

*Elimra Star-Gazette (May 26) – Texas gas study finds no pattern of elevated toxins near compressor
**Dallas Fort Worth – Channel 33 News (May 12) – DISH Report: No evidence gas well hurting residents of Dish, Texas

New Website Resource for Marcellus Shale Workers Coming to PA

Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania continues to bring business, and people, to the state. Now there’s a new website to assist out-of-staters who need a place to stay:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.—Workers traveling to the Marcellus Shale natural gas deposit in Pennsylvania now have a valuable online travel guide dedicated to helping find accommodations in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region.

MarcellusShaleHotels.com offers those coming to stay in the area information on hotels with short and long-term stay options. All the hotels featured on the site offer special rates to those coming to work on the Marcellus Shale.

Michael Szczesny is the Director of Operations at the State College hotels featured on the resource site. He’s eager to assist Marcellus Shale companies with their lodging needs.

“All our State College properties are either adjacent to or within walking distance to restaurants such as Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Otto’s Microbrewery and Texas Roadhouse,” Szczesny said. “We are offering both short and long-term stays to accommodate the requirements of each company.”

Each of the hotels featured on the site is just minutes away from various locations in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region and offers amenities designed to accommodate every guest.

Locations of properties on the site range from Lock Haven to State College and down to Pittsburgh. To learn more about hotels in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, visit MarcellusShaleHotels.com today.*

*Business Wire (May 26) – Marcellus Shale Website a Resource to Those Traveling to Work Pennsylvania’s Gas Field