For some background see:
Deep Dish – A look at a town crisscrossed with pipelines Video documentary.
BREAKING: Chesapeake Energy Reneges on Promises and Makes Veiled Threats
A letter from Calvin Tillman, Mayor of DISH, TX
Sent: Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 9:09 PM
Subject: Fwd: The Worse Case Scenerio
Here in the town of DISH, TX we have the worse case scenario when it comes to the negative effects of the Barnett Shale. We are called grand central station by some, and ground zero by others. We have been referred to as the “canary in the coal mine”, as many look here to see the extremes of the negatives effects of the boom of the Barnett Shale. I never heard the term “sacrifice zone” until moving here, but it didn’t take me long too realize I was part of one. After several years of a constant battle with the 11 compressor stations, 19 natural gas pipelines and 3 metering stations in our two square miles, I continue to learn that the fight will continue on. Last year we had a pipeline company, Enterprise Texas Pipeline, who installed a 36″ high pressure gas line right through the middle of DISH. The conduct of this company was horrendous at best. I had several ! instances of work crews defecating on property owners property, not ensuring livestock safety, leaving open trenches, complete disrespect for those in the town including the elected officials, and not complying with the written agreement with the property owners. So much for the promises even if they are in a contract. My hopes were that these people would go away and never return. I was forced to have our town attorney send letters contemplating civil actions. Due to the size of our town and our budget, fighting a company civilly would be an uphill battle. Just about the time I though the thugs were to be through installing their pipeline, they approached me about putting yet another eyesore in our town. This eyesore will be a metering station. To those of you who do not know what that is, this is where they meter the gas, so they get paid. Of course they will need to put another pipeline in so that we will have the round number of 20 pipelines.
One advantage we have is that another city was sued by Chesapeake over a compressor station, and the city actually faired very well when the judgement was made. They confirmed the municipality’s right to demand setbacks from major roads and require reasonable aesthetic screening and landscaping. For this metering sight, all we have asked is for this company to do their legal obligation. They have responded by showing up at public meetings with their newly hired gun, Mr. Arthur Anderson, who is a high priced Dallas attorney who has made his fame and fortune suing municipalities(I doubt he lives next to a compressor or metering station). Every city attorney in the metroplex has heard of Mr. Anderson, you might call him famous or infamous, whatever the case he is too be respected by all. To those who don’t know, this is a message to me and those in the town who would stand in the way of profits for Enterprise Texas Pipeline. You see most of these companies would rather spend their money on attorneys that putting in a facility everybody can live with, that is just how they do business. After several months, and thousands of dollars in legal fees we finally got them to agree to set the facility off the road, and put reasonable fencing to hide the piping. They acted as though they were doing us such a favor, and we should embrace them with open arms. We feel that this is still forced upon us, and this is the least they could do, we by know means want them here, but if they are going to continue to sacrifice us for the good of the shale, then they should make it as nice as they can. So again they show up in force with Mr. Anderson to the last public meeting. I allow everyone to speak their minds for the most part at our meetings, so I continued this tradition at this meeting. Therefore, many of the citizens of DISH stood up to speak their minds to the representatives. Even former mayor and town founder L.E. Clark, and his wife, who usually support these companies, stood up to express their displeasure with the site All they did was point out the facts, such as this sight ruins property values and quality of life, and well as bringing a billion cubic feet of a toxic and extremely explosive substance to the neighborhood every day. They responded to this by getting upset with DISH, and now they are threatening to sue us, or in proper terminology litigation. The taxable evaluation of the entire town of DISH is around 28 million dollars, this metering station will meter that much in natural gas daily.
There is more to the story, though; they plan to bring this pipeline all the way from Fort Worth. Therefore, they have to deal with other cities along the way. However, it appears as though we are the only ones threatened with suits. Why, you might ask? Because they believe that we are too small to adequately defend ourselves. This is a position that many of you have found yourselves in or soon will. As they bully, when they can not get their way, they run up your legal fees asking remedial questions that anyone who has watched Perry Mason would know. Then they hire a spokesman to clean up the mess. Fortunately, we have small war chest, and we are members of the Texas Municipal League, which is like a big brother that gives us some protection from the bullies. Therefore, I will stand and fight this battle for the citizens here, and for everyone else as well, as long as I can. This is one story that should be shared, because unfortunately it is typical of this industry. I have had some success, but I have had to deal with this kind of fight for the last several years. If anyone has any ideas that will help us here, please let me know. To those who have websites or blogs, please post this story. If you would like to hear the story from Enterprise Texas Pipeline, their point of contact is Delbert Fore, Director, Governmental Affairs; office (713) 381-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org. Other than this I am unsure of what to do. Before it is over this will have cost us thousands in legal fees, just trying to get them to do what any respectable company and industry would do on their own. Again, please help if you have any ideas, and as always, thanks.
Mayor, DISH, TX
“Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it”