Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is Suing to Stop a Fracking Development Outside Dallas

Categories: Legal Battles

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Roy Luck
Just a few days after the Weather Channel published a damning, in-depth report documenting how natural gas drilling is wreaking havoc on Texas' air quality, a group of wealthy property owners outside Dallas are dealing with another dark side of the energy boom: a really ugly water tower.

Residents of Bartonville are concerned about the tower for a number of reasons and are fighting the project in court. One issue, they say in the lawsuit, is that the tower "will sell water to oil and gas explorers for fracking shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks on FM 407, creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards."

And, as the Wall Street Journal just uncovered, one of those angry homeowners trying to stop the tower and its fracking-related business is none other than Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson. The lawsuit already has a winner, and that winner is irony.

Exxon and its subsidiary XTO make loads of money from natural gas production, and Tillerson doesn't like it when others complain about the potentially negative consequences. He's bitched over the years that fracking regulations have hindered natural gas production so much that the government has "has become an obstacle to getting anything done." Except that Exxon is reportedly the largest producer of natural gas in the country, so Tillerson somehow found a way to get stuff done.

About a year and a half after he complained about the federal government, XTO was hit with a lawsuit from the feds accusing the company of polluting drinking water in Pennsylvania, also with fracking fluid, that same stuff the homeowners appear to be concerned about. XTO settled the case for $20 million.

To be fair, the lawsuit Tillerson is involved in doesn't concern itself too much with the larger implications of natural gas drilling. Mostly, the plaintiffs just want to talk about the water tower and how it's too big and ugly to fit in attractive Bartonville. "This monstrosity will mock the purpose of the Bartonville zoning ordinance," the lawsuit charges, sounding serious. The complaint adds that the tower's location "is abnormal and out of place for the surroundings."

The tower is actually just 160 feet tall, but "both men and nature are inadequate to lessen the adverse impact" of that 160 feet.

Meanwhile, that recent Weather Channel report found that Texas is suffering "a 100 percent statewide increase in unplanned, toxic air releases associated with oil and gas production since 2009," something is also unlikely to be lessened by either man or nature.

Here is the water tower lawsuit:

Water Tower Lawsuit


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23 comments
gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Nice!  Some coin addict sports mansion, whines when gas discovered under marble floor.  Privately, I cannot help but snicker a little at the mere mention of "Bartonville", mainly because the entire DFW metroplex has always been thrust into a Bartonville of asthma in terms of Smoky Joe Barton's servile attitude to those hugely, massively ugly-as-sin cement plants outside Midlothian.  


Yep.  DFW: Childhood asthma capital of the United States.  WE'RE NUMBER ONE!  YAY!  


The great Silverback, Rex Tillerson, and his NIMBY attitude regarding the activities from which he profits heavily, serve as a perfect example why "free market nonsense" is untenable and harmful to the public weal.  Ever heard of the public weal, Rex Tillerson?  


The definition of public weal, common to the men who served as architects and actual designers of the U.S. Constitution, is now obsolete.  The public weal meant "the welfare and happiness (different from satisfaction, bro) of all of us, not merely a few elites".  And when we've got huge, smoking, flaming psychopathic "economic exchange-as-politics" lunatics out profiting despite the suffering and harm they cause the rest of the neighborhood, the community, the region, the state, the nation and even the United States itself, all of us have a problem.  That problem is called "self-interest".  The solution?  "Mutual self-interest" or "enlightened self-interest". 

Ever try to pay yourself for your own groceries?  How does an individual serve as both customer and seller?  The economic exchange is a little like that: Economic self-interest only involves those within a bubble of buyer and seller, and the rest of the world be doomed.  Using "free market economics" as a political solution is simply idiocy because the vast majority gets hurt while a few walk away with millions in prizes.  


Politics in a democratic republic is based on the utilitarian viewpoint: The greatest good for the greatest number of individuals.  Economic exchange is not a political solution to anything but rapaciousness and "exclusivity". 

I am unwilling to be measured separately from my fellow citizens, nor am I willing to be left to the whims of an "invisible hand" that is not only not self-regulating but is also not naturally self-balancing.  Even the early capitalists in 19th Century America understood that. 

Why Tillerson cannot comprehend these simple facts regarding what happens when self interest and the public weal collide is basically the bottom line with what is wrong with the United States. 

Indeed, we have come a long way.  A long way down. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Amy, I have read through the filing you posted.  You stated in your story "One issue, they say in the lawsuit, is that the tower "will sell water to oil and gas explorers for fracking shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks on FM 407, creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.""

I may have overlooked your quote.  Would  you please let me know where this is in the filing?  TIA

rolchp
rolchp

You people who buy this crap are a bunch of morons.  First the lawsuit is against a water tower period.  You fail to see how these leftist progressive socialists can so easily and insultingly push your buttons by titling this about fracking!  To make you guppies even more irate they throw in EXXON  EX CEO and that is all it takes to get you gander up and cry foul and once again stoke the fires of class warfare!  Do a little reading before you start mouthing your disgust this time and certainly before voting ever again.  Thanks for sheeple like you all we now have a President who can lie and deny with absolutely no consequences to himself.  Hope you are happy>

rkm200
rkm200

Is that also pro-business republican Dick Armey listed as a plaintiff on that lawsuit?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Poetic justice?

Chickens come home to roost?

Hoist on one's own petard?

Add em up.

Or maybe good news if he wins, and sets a precedent.

bmarvel
bmarvel

What's the point of being an oil company CEO if you can't hire a lawyer to keep fracking and its effects out of your back yard?

schermbeck
schermbeck

Thanks for reading that Eagle Ford Shale expose. It has a lot of implications for DFW air quality as well, i.e. the state really has no idea how much air pollution the industry is generating.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Reminds me of when The Dumbest Kennedy freaked over windmills in his portion of the Atlantic.

bmarvel
bmarvel

@rolchp So the general idea is that CEO's and their like get views of water towers. The rest get flaming water faucets, earthquake clusters, and noxious fumes? That seems fair to me.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@rolchp  Yep - an article from that bastion of liberal thought The Wall Street Journal       

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@rkm200  Yes - Dick Armey, the champion of the middle class who has profited mightily by selling various forms of snake oil  

dingo
dingo

@schermbeck  

Why is the expose buried in this story concerning a somewhat ironic minor zoning squabble?

The expose comes from a Center for Public Integrity report that has been contested by the energy industry:

http://energyindepth.org/texas/activism-deception-weather-channel-eagle-ford-shale-report/

Neither side is unbiased so it is probably reasonable to expect that the truth probably falls somewhere in between both positions.


I do not doubt that individual health episodes have occurred due to energy production related air quality. 


A peer reviewed study on the issue would better serve the public in "clearing the air".

rolchp
rolchp

@bmarvel @rolchp What a marvelous deduction bmarvel.  Too bad it doesn't make much sense.  Oh look and a sheeple already liked you!

rolchp
rolchp

@Sotiredofitall @rolchpYour sarcasm would be quite appropriate had there been some truth in it.  Amy Silverstein (freelance writer from Los Angeles) merely referenced the Wall Street Journal as she did the Weather Channel.  Why not say the Weather Channel originated the article?

schermbeck
schermbeck

@dingo @schermbeck Er, It's not. It's inside a gigantic piece of investigative journalism that's well-sourced and documented. And gee, all it takes for those documented facts to be questioned is the "contesting" by the energy industry? You know, they'd contest the sky was blue if it served their own self-interests. What interests are served by reporters at the Weather Channel (?) making stuff up? It'd be great to have lots more peer review studies, but the best journal-published epidemiological studies to date all suggest the same thing - fracking puts toxic crap in the air and raises the risk of human health harms significantly. 

rolchp
rolchp

@Sotiredofitall @rolchpCongrats on that!  Doesn't change the facts however.  We and you all were discussing the twisted version presented by Silverstein.  So maybe you should read both not just the headlines.

dingo
dingo

@schermbeck @dingo  

If you were to credibly dispute all of the facts addressed in the energy industry response...


"I did. It's not a refutation of any of the facts cited."

Hmmmm... Okaay.

schermbeck
schermbeck

@dingo @schermbeckI did. It's not a refutation of any of the facts cited. It's the industry's interpretation of those facts and a constant ad hominem attacks on the sources of those facts. The "refutation " of the ozone/smog claim for SA is particularly lame, as is the "refutation" to the evidence that the state has no idea what kinds of emissions are being produced by the gas industry under "the old rules" -  which still govern most of Texas. This kind of obfuscation is a tactic honed by the tobacco industry and now used by polluters of all kinds. Remember, "Toxic Sludge is Good For You."

dingo
dingo

@schermbeck @dingo 

If you were to credibly dispute all of the facts addressed in the energy industry response instead of only making sarcastic conclusions (that already appear biased because of your incognizance to the fact that CPI was a driving organization behind the report) then I would agree with your stance on the issue.

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