Saturday, February 22, 2014

Exxon CEO doesn't want frack trucks in his backyard

Fracking traffic at a PA watering hole
File this under "Chickens Coming Home to Roost". According to a Wall Street Journal article earlier this week,Rex Tillerson doesn't want a water tower built next to his horse farm because it could potentially bring lots of fracking trucks into his neighborhood. And that, he says, would be a profound nuisance.

Tillerson, it turns out, is chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp - the company that engages in ... fracking. The very same company that faces criminal charges over a 50,000-plus gallon fracking waste spill in Pennsylvania. And while he and his company support fracking elsewhere, he doesn't want the inconvenience - and unsightliness- of a water tower in his backyard.

Tillerson and his Bartonville, TX neighbors have filed a lawsuit to block construction of the water tower because it's illegal and it's a nuisance. The 160-foot tower is located adjacent to Tillerson's property and will take away from his enjoyment of the view- an allegation countered by the water corporation that claims he already has power lines running across that view, so what's one more thing?

Residents fear that the water company could provide excess water not needed by residents for use in hydro-fracking. "The construction of the water tower will create a constant and unbearable nuisance to those that live next to it," says the lawsuit (pdf, section 6.06).  The suit declares that... "A water tower will have lights on at all hours of the night, traffic to and from the tower at unknown and unreasonable hours, noise from the mechanical and electrical equipment needed to maintain and operate the water tower..." Furthermore, the residents fear that the water company 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 there's one other thing: the residents feel that the water utility has to obey local zoning ordinances and the rights of residents who relied on those ordinances and town laws when they purchased their property. Property which, by the way, runs into the multi-million dollar range. Which may explain why an oil company CEO is fighting the same battles as dairy farmers in the Marcellus: the town and people living in an area have a right to expect that corporations will follow their rules. Their Home Rule.

In comments to his Town Council at their November meeting, Tillerson expressed concern that allowing the water tower to be constructed would open the door to runaway development. He said, "I cannot stay in a place where I do not know who to count on and who not to count on."


  1. Wow. This is pretty much the definition of irony, isn't it?Thanks for sharing this story, Sue. Very informative.

    1. I think all of us would agree: our property, our schools, our hospitals, our towns - all deserve the same protection as Rex's property.