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Trailer Talk's Frack Talk: Why a Mayor Was Forced to Leave His Town Because of Gas Drilling

Major Calvin Tillman left his beloved community of Dish, Texas (that has 60 gas wells) to protect his family from the dangers of natural gas drilling.

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Tillman: Well, prior to being mayor, I was on our Board of Commissioners in the town, and so when I decided to be mayor, it was highly because of the issues that we had from the compressor station. And so, I've seen the way that everybody was getting treated, and so I got more and more involved, became more and more vocal, became the leader of the community on the issue.

So, when I became mayor, it wasn't that big of a deal at the time as far as more of my personal time. But as I've continued to get into this, it's gotten bigger.

First off, the site has continued to grow. We've been continually inundated with more and more and more of this stuff to make it unbearable. We have been sacrificed. And when you try and get these companies to just do what any reasonable American should do to his neighbor, they just won't do it. And so, that is what has forced me to take the positions that I have taken, and to be as aggressive as I have been -- just to get them to do what any reasonable respectable company would do.

When I'm coming to places like here, I want you to know what has happened so that maybe you can prevent it from happening to you, so that you don't have to worry about your children or your neighbors or your animals or yourself.

Artel: So, what can we do? What can anyone do that is now dealing with the possibility and/or dealing with the gas drilling?

Tillman: Well, in a lot of areas up here, you're fortunate enough to not have started yet. And the best way to not have that is to fix it before it starts. Make these companies be responsible before they get in here because, otherwise like I stated before, you're going to be cleaning up a mess somewhere down the line. So, that's the best way.

For those who have already been affected, such as those in the Dimock, Pennsylvania, area, that's tough. They're faced with that same legal battle that Lloyd Burgess is faced with in Dish, Texas.

The town of Dish has been inundated with public information request after public information request after public information request, asking for personal medical information of my citizens; my personal e-mails; things such as that. And when we come to an agreement over something ... Let's say there was a health assessment done, and so we gave them some of that data, but it didn't have anybody's name, age, address. Well, they come back ... They agreed to that. They said, "Yeah, that's fine; we don't want that information." Well, then, when I don't give them the information they come back and they threaten to sue me. They threaten to turn me into the Attorney General for not giving required information to them.

And so, now, that has went from the companies and the organizations that I'm dealing with to national groups who represent these companies, who are personally attacking me and trying to make out that I'm some sort of environmental whacko, and things like that.

And so, you know, that's okay. I can deal with personal attacks. So be it. As long as we get something done and people give me a chance and take a look at what I have to say, I think you'll see that I'm a realist and that there's a lot of good information that people in this area can learn from.

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