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The Courts Power The Almighty Buck Technology

Texas Family Awarded $2.9 Million In Fracking Lawsuit 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-mess-with-texas dept.
New submitter martinQblank writes "CNN reports: A Texas family whose home was within a two-mile radius of 22 natural gas wells — one of which was less than 800 feet away — has been awarded $2.9 million by a jury. The family, who suffered from a variety of ailments (including nosebleeds, rashes, migraines and more), was advised by a doctor to leave their ranch immediately and see a physician specializing in environmental health. The defendant in the case, Aruba Petroleum, disagreed with the jury's decision, as did other attorneys who are familiar with the energy sector — calling in a 'knee-jerk' reaction. Additionally the company noted that they had complied with all applicable environmental regulations. The family itself? Still in favor of oil and natural gas extraction: 'We are not anti-fracking or anti-drilling. My goodness, we live in Texas. Keep it in the pipes, and if you have a leak or spill, report it and be respectful to your neighbors. If you are going to put this stuff in close proximity to homes, be respectful and careful.'"
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Texas Family Awarded $2.9 Million In Fracking Lawsuit

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  • Um yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Whatsmynickname (557867) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:36AM (#46847481)

    We are not anti-fracking or anti-drilling. My goodness, we live in Texas.

    Yeah, we love fracking! Now give us the 2.9 million dollars...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:37AM (#46847487)

    You're still responsible for the damage you cause, even if it's accidental. Your action, your responsibility.

  • But why is fracking exempt from the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act?

  • by Nimey (114278) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:06AM (#46847575) Homepage Journal

    Regulatory capture.

  • by fermion (181285) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:39AM (#46847727) Homepage Journal
    As much as complaints we here over regulation and government interference, modern business depends on it. For instance, the Keystone XL pipeline, or really any big project, would not be able to completed at reasonable costs without the governments ability to take land from private citizens. We also have seen that as long as car company complies with regulation, they can kill 13 people with impunity. A chicken processor can poison hundreds of people as long as they follow regulations. About the only thing a person can do is sue. This is why conservatives hate the courts so much.
  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @10:37AM (#46848015)

    We are not anti-fracking or anti-drilling. My goodness, we live in Texas. Keep it in the pipes, and if you have a leak or spill, report it and be respectful to your neighbors. If you are going to put this stuff in close proximity to homes, be respectful and careful.

    Yeah, pretty much this.

    We all know that extraction companies do idiotic and careless things and don't give a fuck about safety -- either of their workers or of the environment around them.

    We also know that a lot of environmentalists advocate the complete cessation of fracking and drilling even though that makes no practical sense (for now).

    And so we've lost the middle ground of wanting a strong extractive industry with strong environmental safeguards and a culture of safety grown up around it. It would be a strategic error for companies to adopt such a policy in a situation where environmentalists are going to oppose them politically and legally anyway no matter what they do. And it would be a strategic error for environmentalists to advocate for responsible extraction given that the companies are going to weasel out of it anyway.

    I know where we want to go, I think it's certainly technologically and economically feasible to extract oil and gas without damaging the environment. But the way we pursue it is fundamentally broken on all sides.

    [ And none of this is intended to be negative. I consider myself an environmentalist and a technologist FWIW. ]

  • Re:Um yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @11:52AM (#46848337) Homepage

    It sounds like the oil company permanently deprived them of their home. If it is some large ranch, the total value of the land could be non-trivial. Even the value of a large home in the city can creep up near the 1 Million dollar range.

    If that land was providing income then there are direct economic damages that a few million might adequately cover.

    That's not even getting into medical bills or permanent harm to several people. All of that could also have lingering economic consequences.

  • Re:Um yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @01:29PM (#46848875) Homepage

    You sir appear to be a fracking idiot.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @01:43PM (#46848937)

    I have all those symptoms too. Migraine, rashes, nausea, nosebleeds. Who should I sue then?

    I don't know. You should visit a medical professional and undergo examination and tests to find the cause of your serious health problems.

  • Re:Um yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @01:53PM (#46848977)

    I live right here among it all, and there are a lot of people who are going to get rich, and for every person getting rich, there are a 1000 who will get paid $80,000 to $100,000 per year as a fracker (aka labor) which is a good wage, but for every fracker, there are 10,000 who will have to keep on living here once the fracking industry pulls out. Leaving us with a junked up infrastructure. Roads all torn up, you wonder every time you pull water from your well, whether it's tainted, every time a new comer (to stay and live here) drills a new well, we tell them "maybe it'll be fine" , or they can go through expensive testing on a regular basis.

    Then there are those who are gone. Big Rig Tractor Trailer traffice has risen by several thousand percent. And the accidents have also. Cops try and hand out tickets, to slow things down, but you get a guy behind the wheel of a 100,000 lb monster, who hasn't slept in 30 plus hours ....my neighbor lost his wife, when they were run down in their suv....

    The benefits are great for some.

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