Property Rights Foundation of America®


Thomas A. Miller

Thomas A. Miller


Thomas A. Miller is an independent petroleum producer in the Pennsylvania Oil Patch and lives in Rock City in the Town of Allegany, Cattaraugus County, New York.

He has been an independent oil producer in New York and Pennsylvania for four decades and is a director of Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers (PIPP). He is a former director of Pennsylvania Oil, Gas and Minerals Association, known as POGAM. He is a member of the Property Rights Foundation of America's National Advisory Board, advising on issues related to independent petroleum production and local zoning.

He was a founder of the Allegany Citizens Rights Committee, which led an effective effort over several years against zoning ordinances that would squeeze out many small local businesses and cause other problems for local homeowners and property owners

He was elected to a four-year term on the Allegany Town Board in 1997 and served on the Allegany Zoning Advisory Board, where he worked against harsh land-use controls. On the town board, he pursued this effort successfully, and also staunchly advocated for minimal, constitutional government, standing against government subsidies of some businesses to the detriment of competing enterprises.

In 1999, he received the Third Annual New York State Private Property Rights Defender Award from the Property Rights Foundation of America.

Tom Miller is an expert historian of the engines used in the oil patch. He has moved to the Coolspring Power Museum the central powerhouse that pumps 26 wells using one engine with mechanical linkages through shackle lines. Affectionately called "Big Power," the system begins with a 40 h.p. engine patented in 1899 that is the prime mover of the 24 ft. diameter bandwheel which is belt-driven by the engine. This operates the rod-lines to the wells pumped at the many distant locations. To contain the restored power system, which will be operational, the building is 90 ft. long. He operated one of these engines since he was twelve years old.

This summer the Pennsylvania Independent Oil Producers honored Tom Miller with the year's recognition for his dedication and commitment to PIPP and the oil and gas industry at the annual PIPP picnic. He is a fourth generation oil producer, lives in New York, and has only one property he pumps in Pennsylvania. He is on the board of directors and has also served as treasurer. The award ceremony began by recognizing the amount of effort when Tom mounted one of his pumping jacks on a truck, hauled it to Harrisburg, and set it on the front steps of the Capitol building, part of PIPP's protest against excessive regulation.

He was a principle plaintiff in an anti-trust lawsuit against three former refineries in Pennsylvania buying Penn-Grade Crude, charging the refineries with price fixing, collusion and conspiracy.

He serves on the board of the Penn Brad Oil Museum in Bradford, Pennsylvania, and often he explains and displays treasures from his excellent collection of engines at numerous engine and implement shows throughout the oil patch.

He is an active participant in the Coolspring Power Museum at Coolspring, Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny Mountain Engine and Implement Association, which holds an annual show near Port Allegany, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Miller is a 1971 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, with a B. S. in physics. He has taught high school for one year. He has accumulated almost four decades as a volunteer fireman. Tom Miller lives on top of a mountain with his wife Patricia of 41 years in Rock City.

Conference Speeches

"A Walk Through the Historic Oil Patch"- Speech from the Twenty-first Annual Conference
"Government Persecution in the Pennsylvania Oil Patch" - Speech from the Seventeenth Annual Conference
"An Introduction to Panel II—Communicating Your Case" - Speech from the Fifth Annual Conference
"Organizing Against Excessive Zoning" - Speech from the Third Annual Conference

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