MDN Weekly Update – Apr 24, 2011

The Truman ShowComing 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 The organization’s stated aim according to their website: “ 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, 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, 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.

Happy reading,
Jim Willis, Editor

Five Most Viewed Stories This Week (Apr 17 – Apr 23)

  1. Chesapeake, 14 Other Energy Companies Have Drilling Permits for Utica Shale in Ohio (4/18/11)
  2. Most-Fined Marcellus Shale Drillers in PA (4/18/11)
  3. PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contaminating Drinking Water (4/19/11)
  4. List of 78 Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid in Pennsylvania (6/30/10)
  5. Chesapeake Well in Bradford County, PA has Blowout; Chesapeake Temporarily Stops All Drilling Until Cause is Known (4/22/11)

Five Most Viewed Stories Two Weeks Ago (Apr 10 – Apr 16)

  1. Chesapeake Energy Paying $2,500 per Acre to Lease Utica Shale (4/11/11)
  2. New Cornell University Study Says Shale Gas Extraction Worse for Global Warming Than Coal (4/12/11)
  3. Canadian Company Pioneers Alternative to Water & Sand in Hydraulic Fracturing, Used on 700 Wells So Far (4/14/11)
  4. Chesapeake Energy Leases More Than 1,000 Parcels in Beaver County, PA Since Jan 1 (4/12/11)
  5. List of 78 Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid in Pennsylvania (6/30/10)

Five Most Viewed Stories Last 30 Days (Mar 24 – Apr 23)

  1. List of 78 Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid in Pennsylvania (6/30/10)
  2. Chesapeake Energy Paying $2,500 per Acre to Lease Utica Shale (4/11/11)
  3. New Interactive Map Shows Marcellus Gas Wells in PA (3/29/11)
  4. Range Resources Threatens to Stop Drilling in Mt. Pleasant Township, PA if New Ordinance is Passed(4/5/11)
  5. Chesapeake, 14 Other Energy Companies Have Drilling Permits for Utica Shale in Ohio (4/18/11)

MDN Calendar (Apr 24 – Apr 30)

New York


West Virginia

  • otegogas

    Tillman provides an honest assessment of the negative impacts the gas industry has had on his town (and family), and this is why he has been personally attacked and demonized by the gas industry and their allies.

    The “rule of thumb” is, the more vicious and personal the gas industry’s attack is against a person who dares to speak out against their mythology, the more likely it is the person is right-on!

  • Vathma

    Get the facts straight: Earthworks is NOT “an organization whose goal is to stop mining and energy extraction of every kind on the planet.”

    Earthworks promotes “best practices” and regulation. At least one of its representatives is on record as saying very pointedly that landowners can get protection through a good lease (as opposed to refusing to lease), which many of us believe is a dangerous fallacy.

    Even Tim R is quoted in the official PR as saying, “We need to drill, and we need the energy-but it needs to be done responsibly

  • Thanks for your comment Vathma. I was using the language on the Earthworks website as the basis of my comments. On the “About Us” page, this is the opening sentence:

    “EARTHWORKS is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide.”

    And also near the top of that page is this quote:

    “We need a watchdog to protect the earth’s resources and communities from mining, drilling and digging — EARTHWORKS is that watchdog. And EARTHWORKS gets results.”

    And near the bottom of the page, this:

    “EARTHWORKS is dedicated to mobilizing public and governmental and coprorate decision makers to take action against the destructive impacts of extraction.”

    Do any of those statements connote that Earthworks supports “safe drilling” or “safe mining”? Not in my book. And I don’t find any references throughout their website that say they do support drilling or mining in any way. So if you know of such references, please share them and I’ll stand corrected.

  • Vathma

    You need to read up a bit more.


    Doing it Right

    Often, communities or landowners are not opposed to drilling – they simply want to ensure that it is done in a way that minimizes impacts to the environment and their lives.

    The oil and gas industry has the financial and technological ability to “Do it

    Right.” In some situations, companies will use better practices because it makes economic sense to do so. In other cases, however, industry is forced to innovate because they are pushed to do so by government regulations (e.g., new regulations may limit the allowable amount of air emissions).

    OGAP’s “Doing it Right” work

    There are two parts to OGAP’s “Doing it RIght” work. One focuses on available or emerging technologies; the other focuses on regulations.

    Best Practices provides information on technologies and management practices that are being used by industry today.
    Our information on Progressive Oil and Gas Regulations provides examples of what already exists in terms of strong provisions that are already in place, that can provide a template for regulatory reform initiatives in other places.

    Governmental and Regulatory Reform highlights proposed or recently passed legislation and regulations that will raise the bar in terms of how development occurs at the municipal, county, state and federal level.

    More here:


  • Vathma

    The statements you quote does not indicate they are against extraction and want to stop it. Everything they say is about protecting people and the environment from the consequences of unregulated extraction.

  • Vathma

    safe- noun–adjective from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk: a safe place. from hurt, injury, danger, or risk: to arrive safe and sound.
    3.involving little or no risk of mishap, error, etc.: a safe estimate.