Trailer Talk's Frack Talk: Why a Mayor Was Forced to Leave His Town Because of Gas Drilling
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One unique thing about Dish is that we're on one of the pipeline routes coming out of the Barnett Shale, so on top of the drilling we have a very massive compressor station because we have 11 natural gas high-pressure 36-inch pipelines running through our community.
Artel: I'm from Texas originally. Still have a lot of my family living in Texas. It's kind of in the blood, isn't it, of the Texans? It's something that you have to deal with. So, what is your relationship with it? What was your attitude initially when this began happening in your town?
Tillman: Most of the folks ... Like you said, you live in Texas, you become accustomed to it, and it's something that everybody has grown accustomed to. They've been drilling in Texas for 100 years, so essentially the laws were written 100 years ago as well, and a lot of those laws are dated, and they're written for the Permian basin, where you're out in the middle of nowhere -- not for into close-knit areas around people and civilization.
Artel: Initially, were you open to the idea, then, of this drilling happening? Do you have drilling on your own land? Your town is a small one; if you could also share with us the population.
Tillman: We're about 2 square miles and 180 citizens that live in the corporate limits of Dish. On my property, I do not have anything. What we do have is, we have the air quality and some of those issues that have come across the fence to us.
To most people, initially, this looks like a very good benefit, especially on the economic side of things. It looks like it is just going to be an economic windfall, and the cost of that windfall don't catch up with you for a little while.
So, at first, it looked like everything was going great. Now the negative side effects are starting to catch up with us, and the costs for that windfall are starting to catch up with us.
Artel: What are some of those costs, and also, if you could talk a bit then from the initial drilling to the issues that you mentioned with the air? What's happening to the citizens of Dish? How can all of you fight now to protect your homes, your health, your property, your quality of life before the drilling began?
So, let's start there. I have so many questions because for all of us, when we're facing this drilling, there are so many issues that you already addressed -- the economic, right? So there's that hope that it will be helpful in that way. There's also that hopefulness that it couldn't be as bad as we hear happening throughout the country. And then there's also that thought I've heard people say, "Well, if there are troubles, they'll be fixed. These energy corporations will address them."
Tillman: Right. Well, when the drilling starts, you have one well, and that one well will have its side effects. As the pipelines start coming through -- and that's something that people always forget, is that they have to get the gas out of here to get it to market, and that's going to require a number of pipelines. It's going to require a massive underground highway to get this stuff out to market. And all along that route there's going to be compressors, there's going to be dehydration units that remove some of the impurities from the gas. That's going to be all along the route, and people seem to forget that.