Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting organized by several anti-Marcellus groups in the beautiful town of Hughesville, Pa – on the eastern end of Lycoming County. The meeting was billed as a chance to meet Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of tiny DISH, Texas (pop. 185) and someone who has become a frequent traveler to PA and NY, mostly to rally opposition to anything that involves converting our homegrown energy resources into jobs and revenues for the people who actually live here.
This time around, though, Mr. Tillman was in town to sell something – namely, a new consulting business that he recently started up with Gasland director Josh Fox and full-time professional activist Sharon Wilson. The business is called ShaleTest, and according to the website, its only purpose is to “collect environmental data, and provide environmental testing to lower income families and neighborhoods that are effected [sic.] by natural gas exploration.”
Of course, if you’re wondering how objective and science-based a water testing service run by committed opponents of responsible natural gas development can possibly be, you’re one among many. Imagine a scenario in which Tillman, Fox and crew collect samples of someone’s water and send those to the lab – only to receive results in return that show the water’s completely safe. Or worse: that quality of water is revealed to be low even without natural gas development taking place anywhere in the general vicinity (which is exactly what happened in Lake Twp., Luzerne Co. – remember?).
What do you suppose these guys would do if faced with a scenario like that? Thankfully for them, they’ll never have to encounter that possibility — by sending the samples off to an outfit called Wolf Eagle in Texas (EID has written about them before here and here), they’ll be assured that the results they seek are the ones they get. ‘Cuz after all: there’s far too much at stake here to let a silly thing like “science” get in the way.
Here below, we were able to snag a few minutes of video from last night’s event in Hughesville – just to give you a flavor of what was said, and also to highlight some pretty tough questions that folks in the audience directed that Tillman and friends, which appears to have surprised them. You can, in the following clip, hear Calvin Tillman tell assembled folks about all the carcinogens their study supposedly found, but he never tells the whole story, which may be found here and is well worth reading.
Tonight, the ShaleTest road show moves on to Luzerne Co., and from there up to Susquehanna Co. later this week. EID-Northeast will be at each of these events — identifying local supporters, asking the tough questions, and providing much-needed context wherever we can (context like this: Marcellus natural gas in the eastern part of the state is “dry,” which means it’s pure methane, which means all of those Tillman warnings about “processing stations” and is irrelevant here – our gas is pipeline-ready the minute it comes from the ground).
Will you join us? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or respond back here with a comment. See you all out on the road.