Only one of the MANY letters sent by Fort Worth residents to actor Tommy Lee Jones regarding his misguided and inaccurate commercials for Chesapeake.
Dear Mr. Jones:
About 3 ½ years ago I heard that Chesapeake Energy was going to drill for natural gas inside a city-owned, 160-acre native prairie preserve. Since my family and I live across the street from this national treasure I was especially horrified to hear this news.
The next day, I founded Friends of Tandy Hills NA to organize my neighborhood and try and prevent this action by Chesapeake.” We were successful in protecting this preserve but much darker clouds were on the horizon.
I soon began to realize that Chesapeake, XTO Energy and others were planning to drill in neighborhoods all over town. I felt a duty to do something. In 2005, FWCanDo (Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Ordinance) was founded as the first organized effort in the state of Texas to help educate people about the negative impacts of urban gas drilling. My brief NIMBY days were over.
As you might expect, most people were as horrified as I was but after awhile they gave in to apathy and just wanted to get on with their lives. Millions of dollars in advertising spent by Chesapeake left many folks feeling beat down like they had no choice but to sign away their mineral rights. Many of those who did sign now wish they had not. Others mistakenly believed they would get rich.
Our town, like others in the Barnett, is slowly eroding away into a giant industrial zone with hundreds of new gas wells and assorted equipment littering our neighborhoods and highways. Thousands more of these dirty and dangerous drilling pads are on the way. Our green spaces and wildlife are rapidly disappearing, as well.
But for me, one of the biggest tragedies is the denigration of our rural landscape. Gas drilling is fast destroying what remained of our north Texas prairie landscape.
A pleasant Sunday drive in the country is no longer an option. Within hundreds of miles of Fort Worth, gas wells, toxic water pits, gravel roads, tanker trucks and oilfield trash have replaced open prairie and ranch land.
Honestly, Mr. Jones, I think you have been given some bad advice. For one thing, this is not “your father’s” gas drilling. The new “fracking” technologies are far more toxic, threatening clean water supplies and allowing gas drillers too close to where people live, work and play.
Gas drilling may be slightly cleaner burning than coal, but the production of NG is just as bad. “Clean Burning” is nothing more than a Wall Street slogan to distract people from discovering the truth about NG production.
Many people in Fort Worth agree that Chesapeake Energy has the dirtiest reputation of a very dirty industry. They have run roughshod over people and property. Few of us are fooled by their “donations” to various causes. I suspect their deep pockets were a factor in your unfortunate decision that allows them to connect their dirty deeds with your good name, face and reputation. As a long time admirer, I am greatly disheartened by your decision.
You see, it’s not just about the money. No one denies the money is big, but we are losing, we have already lost something priceless and irreplaceable. Our kids and grandkids will grow up in a much worse place than we did thanks to companies like Chesapeake Energy.
I’ll end this letter by telling you about the latest news from Chesapeake: I recently learned that they are proposing a 36” gas pipeline that will run through the front yards of a residential street near my home. This is a quiet, well-established neighborhood.
Thanks to Chesapeake, nearly every tree on that side of the street will be cut down and new trees can never be planted over the pipeline. Some of those trees are over 100 years old. Most of those homes have kids and old folks living there who will miss those trees. Homeowners will never be able to recoup the value of their homes that sit 4 feet above a disaster waiting to happen.
This unbelievable scenario is no longer an isolated incident in Fort Worth. Why? Because companies like Chesapeake want to make more money and their ad campaign featuring you, Mr. Jones, is helping them do it.
I hope you will accept my offer to give you an unvarnished tour of Fort Worth in the near future. I want you to see with your own eyes how companies like Chesapeake Energy are turning Fort Worth into a Dirty Ol’ Town.
Founder, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Right on Don. When people start to sign their name the land starts to change–and it changes most for those of us who Live On the Land. With this unprecidented gas drilling boom now under way, we and the land will never be the same again! Quality of life residential living is NOT COMPATIBLE with the activities of the gas drilling companies. Actually when you lease your minerals, they actually “own” your land–they will let you live there as long as you are willing to put up with them. Otherwise your only other choice is to RUN. RUN, RUN, RUN. RUN from Texas! That’s one RUN for each point in the Texas Star! Until the state poloticians pony-up to the plate and enact a LOL (Live on the Land) law, the all-powerful rights of the mineral interest owners will not be abated and we will all continue to suffer. Best of luck to us all.
I would love to give him a tour of my area!
Cathryn Sykes, Editor says
I read the paper every day and have been seeing those full-page, full-color Tommy Lee Jone ads and thinking, “Why do people always confuse the actor with his characters?” and “Geez, how much are they paying Jones to do this?”
The sad thing about such celebrity “endorsements” is that they work…
But maybe if real people send enough letters to this one, Jones will see that his work for Chesapeake is NOT helping his image.
Funny that you’d have a blog about mr. Jones as he was recently in the news here in Albq. when he gave an interview shortly after filming here. He said Albq was dirty, noisy and had “too many” crows. *lol*
I’ll admit to what Cathryn, above, just said, in that it is easy to confuse the two. The lines can be hard to distinguish sometimes.
Bet you all have cell phones. Give them up so I can get this stinking cell tower off my land.
Oh, don’t want to? Ok. We don’t wanna give up driving or getting food at the gro. store that took fuel to get it there and even to grow it, either. If the tree- huggers would back off and let us drill in AK where we proved we could do it without destroying the landscape, and we could drill off shore where other countries are drilling but we are not allowed; and if the gov’t was not taxing the oil co’s. more than they make in profits, then maybe we wouldn’t have to run gas lines through your yards. We ALL want to drive and possess goods that require fuel to make and transport; we just don’t want to be inconvenienced by it.
Watchgoose: This is comment is typical from people who aren’t really educated on these matters.
First, NEVER has it been proven that drilling does not destroy the landscape. NEVER. And just how much gas and oil do you think we can get from Alaska? The answer is: NOT ENOUGH!
Oil and gas companies get $16 BILLION dollars in tax breaks and last year they made $400 BILLION in PROFITS! How much more do you think we should give them in tax breaks? Who do you think has to make up the difference in those tax breaks? WE DO! Regular citizens. If $400 BILLION in PROFIT isn’t enough to prevent them from running gas lines through people’s front yards, how much would it take?
I’ve had some dumb comments on this blog before but you are a winner!
but guar gum is eco-freindly, and it is completely bio-degradable. So why would people worry about guar gum waste.
Dan G says
Wow, Sharon. $400 billion is immense. You know, if they just invested, out of the goodness of their heart, say 1% of that each year to building safe, environmentally friendly infrastructure, maybe we could actually have a workable, sustainable, safe solution for oil and gas drilling.
The key phrase here is “goodness of their heart.” Nice idea though.