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The Courts Power The Almighty Buck Technology

Texas Family Awarded $2.9 Million In Fracking Lawsuit 146

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @09:40AM (#46847491)

    The $2.9 million, minus attorney fees, costs, and taxes, might be just enough to compensate the family for their loss. Keep in mind that if any family members develop cancer or some other ailment later in life as a result of the company's irresponsibility, then that will probably be covered under this award as well.

    If it had been an order of magnitude larger, then we could talk about "knee jerk".

  • by towermac ( 752159 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @10:16AM (#46847603)

    Was OMG the libs have penetrated Texas..

    Then I gave it a bit more thought and got over myself. The point of a judgement like this, is that it's supposed to sting. It's a whole lot of money for doctor's bills, but not a whole lot of money if the intent is to punish. It's enough though, that I think Aruba (and others) will take notice. Not very many businesses can write a $2.9M check and walk it off in an afternoon.

    But first, I don't see any real evil here. The ground around a working oil well is a messy place. You can't help but spill a little, and there's no malfeasance necessary to occasionally spill a lot (what you and I would call a lot). Every time I get gas, at least one drop hits the pavement, no matter how hard I try to tap it off. I totally believe Aruba when they say they did everything they were supposed to do.

    I just think that what they are supposed to do, is probably fine for a well out in the middle of a field, but not good enough for a well in a neighborhood. Texas society, acting through their civil court, has pulled somewhat ahead of their regulations and legislation. And one has to think that eventually society will want wells to be cleaner even when they are out in the middle of nowhere.

    So, if I am going to be all small government conservative, and pull for states and local folks to take more control of their lives from the mean old federal government, then I need to get my head right, and totally support this judgment. That means encouraging the oil companies to pay up and clean up, and pull themselves ahead of where they are, and catch up to where Texans now want them to be. They've moved the goalposts on you Aruba, but they have that right. And Texas, please continue to give my my under $4 a gallon gas, but don't poison your state and people while doing so. Thank you very much. :)

  • Re:mystery ailments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @10:57AM (#46847833)

    They are symptoms of low level poisoning and immune disorders.

    They are also symptoms of on-going stress, such as being panicked over fracking on (or under) your property. Psychosomatic illness, "Nocebos", negative placebos.

    This coincidence of symptoms, and our inability to separate the causes, is an issue in most of these cases. You hear about your favourite brand of soap powder causing obscure immune issues, suddenly you get a rash, then you get migraines and join pain, within six months you can barely get out of bed. Poisonous soap powder, or six months of obsessive worry crippling your immune system? Same symptoms, but do you sue the soap company, or the activist network that caused the stress?

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