Chesapeake Energy bans DISH Mayor from drilling tour

Petty vindictiveness turns ironic

On Thursday, April 29, 2010, Chesapeake Energy refused to allow Calvin Tillman to participate in a guided tour of their “model” drilling site. This move by CHK left the group Tillman was traveling with scrambling to make other arrangements for him when he was refused entry to the site. (I mean, they couldn’t just leave him standing outside the gate on the side of the road while they took the tour.)

The tour was arranged as fact finding trip by Senator Antoine Thompson, Chair of the NY Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, and included “a group of state senators, some officials from the NYC DEP and an assembly person.” From the report by New Yorkers for Sustainable Energy Solutions Statewide:

…the morning was devoted to a Chesapeake-guided tour of one of their model well sites near Towanda PA. Mayor Calvin Tillman of Dish, Texas had been invited by Senator Thompson’s office to join the group.

Well, that’s embarrassing. What can this group of dignitaries do with Tillman the Pariah?

While the group toured the “model” drilling site, Tillman toured the areas where Chesapeake drilling has negatively impacted residents leaving them with contaminated/flammable water. Oh, the irony! It burns! It burns!

Michael Lebron, a principal of New Yorkers for Sustainable Energy Solutions State Wide (NYSESS) and a board member of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS), stepped in and took Mayor Tillman on a different tour: to locations where water well contamination has occurred in association with gas drilling activity by Chesapeake in Bradford County. In each instance, a pattern of contamination was described as follows: tap water would first turn black, then it would acquire a foul odor, and then methane levels increased to the point where the water could be lit. In one instance, the contamination occurred after a gas well was drilled one mile away. In another, it was reported that a one acre pond turned black, then became bubbly, and that electrical had to be cut off from a woodworking shop and a utility transformer moved across the street because methane levels risked an explosion.

Hey Chesapeake, don’t play with matches, some burn hotter than others.

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.


  1. Anonymous says

    Mayor Tilman–you now have a badge of honor since Big Gas didn't let you visit their boggus PR type well site!! Consider it an honor. BTW, ask CHK how many of their actual well sites (everywhere) meet the model requirements?

  2. Anonymous says

    Thank-you Mayor Tillman for helping all of us. You are one of the few City Official who can not be bought off. Looks like CHK is afraid of you.

  3. BJ says

    Last December I was investigating a property in northeast PA for an environmental assesment at the county court house and one of the county workers for the vault came in and asked if there was anyone not involved with the oil and gas companies. I was the only one that replied and it was for an environmental site assessment. After a slight pause, I was the recpient of a boo with a southern acsent. So I also have a small badge of honor, and proud of. Mayor Tilman, the actions you are completing are nessecary to inform us in the northeast of the dangers of the extraction process and transportation form your experiences.

  4. Anonymous says

    BJ–congratulations–wear your badge of honor with pride! That's the way they operate. You will be surprised what you will find out when you look through local records! It's amazing! Even crooked officials cops and judges! Keep up the good work.

  5. Tim Ruggiero says

    I would think that CHicKens would happily have Tillman along, especially since it's a 'Model' site. Unlike most of their other sites, there probably isn't workmen urinating and defecating on private property, no spills, leaks or poisoned water, rusting neglected equipment and piping and, of course, emissions. Then again, I wonder of they were afraid that he might have a FLIR camera with him and expose another one of the industry's dirty little secrets.