Coming soon to a fire hall, museum, legion hall, university or television set near you: The Calvin Tillman Show. For those new to the drilling debate, Calvin Tillman is, or rather was, mayor of the small town of DISH, Texas which sits smack in the middle of the Barnett Shale deposit. Mr. Tillman has made a cottage industry of touring the country, including the Marcellus Shale region, and accusing gas drilling companies of poisoning the good citizens of the USA wherever they drill. His evidence? Well, er, let’s not bother with evidence. It’s the accusations that matter! And the children! His children! Other people’s children! Headaches, nose bleeds, asthma…the list goes on. Problem is, there’s never any evidence that ties drilling activities in the DISH region with said ailments, even though a number of environmental tests have been performed.
Mr. Tillman and fellow Texan Tim Ruggiero, a landowner who claims he too was adversely affected by gas drilling, founded an organization in 2010 called ShaleTest.org. The organization’s stated aim according to their website: “ShaleTest.org is a non-profit organization that will collect environmental data, and provide environmental testing to lower income families and neighborhoods that are effected by natural gas exploration.”
In the spring of this year, ShaleTest.org became affiliated with (ie funded by) the larger organization Earthworks, an organization whose goal is to stop mining and energy extraction of every kind on the planet. Apparently Earthworks has showered its largesse on the good Mr. Tillman who can now devote himself full-time to traveling the country and bashing the drilling industry.
Before Mr. Tillman co-founded ShaleTest.org, MDN had the pleasure of hearing him in person when he made an anti-gas campaign stop in Binghamton, NY in February 2010. You can read about that meeting here.
If you would like to hear Mr. Tillman in person when he visits the Northeast, you can find his current speaking itinerary here.
Below you’ll find the “top 5” lists and this week’s calendar listings.
Jim Willis, Editor