Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Not Even the Head of Exxon Wants Fracking Operations In His Neighborhood

ExxonMobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson.


ExxonMobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson.

While fracking and other drilling techniques have opened up large reserves of oil and natural gas in Texas, they’ve also caused literal headaches, traffic jams and fatal accidents, and strains on water supplies. As a result, some Texas communities are pushing back: Dallas has passed strict limits on drilling; citizens in Denton are working a ban on drilling altogether within city limits. And now joining the list of residents who don’t want some fracking operations in their backyard? Rex Tillerson, head of ExxonMobil, which is the largest producer of natural gas in the country.

The story comes from the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Gilbert, who learned that Tillerson has joined his neighbors in Bartonville (a Dallas suburb) in a suit against a water tower that would be used in part for fracking and drilling operations. Tillerson (along with former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey) is actually showing up in person at town hall meetings to protest the tower. “He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create ‘a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,’ in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing,” Gilbert reports.

More from the Wall Street Journal on Tillerson’s objections:

“He told officials that he and his wife settled in Bartonville to enjoy a rural lifestyle and invested millions in their property after satisfying themselves that nothing would be built above their tree line, according to the council’s audio recording of the meeting.

Allowing the tower in defiance of town ordinances could open the door to runaway development and might prompt him to leave town, Mr. Tillerson told the council. “I cannot stay in a place,” he said, “where I do not know who to count on and who not to count on.”

Tillerson has lived in Bartonville since 2001; since then, Gilbert reports, “companies have fracked at least nine shale wells within a mile of the Tillerson home, according to Texas regulatory and real-estate records,” including one owned by ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO.

Tillerson’s lawyer tells the paper that he’s concerned about the impact of the tower on his property values. You can read the full story over at the Wall Street Journal.


  • richardguldi

    Two friends who attended this meeting told me Tillerson got unlimited time to speak but common people made sick by fracking were limited to three minutes.

    Here’s some excerpts for those who can’t see the full story.

    BARTONVILLE, Texas—One evening last November, a tall, white-haired man turned up at a Town Council meeting to protest construction of a water tower near his home in this wealthy community outside Dallas.

    The man was Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,” in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, which requires heavy trucks to haul and pump massive amounts of water, unlocks oil and gas from dense rock and has helped touch off a surge in U.S. energy output.

    It also is a core part of Exxon’s business.

    While the lawsuit Mr. Tillerson joined cites the side effects of fracking, a lawyer representing the Exxon CEO said he hadn’t complained about such disturbances. “I have other clients who were concerned about the potential for noise and traffic
    problems, but he’s never expressed that to me or anyone else,” said Michael Whitten, who runs a small law practice in Denton, Texas. Mr. Whitten said Mr. Tillerson’s primary concern is that his property value would be harmed.

    The tower would be almost 15 stories tall, adjacent to the 83-acre horse ranch Mr. Tillerson and his wife own and a short distance from their 18-acre homestead. Mr. Tillerson sat for a three-hour deposition in the lawsuit last May, attended an all-day mediation session in September and has spoken out against the tower during at least two Town Council meetings, according to public records and people involved with the case.

    The Exxon chief isn’t the most vocal or well-known opponent of the tower. He and his wife are suing with three other couples. The lead plaintiffs are former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (founder of the Tea Party) and his wife, who have become fixtures at Town Council meetings.

    Since 2007, companies have fracked at least nine shale wells within a mile of the Tillerson home, according to Texas records.

    The last to do so was XTO Energy Inc., in August 2009, according to Texas regulators. Mr. Tillerson had just begun talks for Exxon to acquire XTO.
    Four months later, Exxon swallowed its smaller rival for $25 billion, becoming America’s biggest gas producer.

    XTO drills and fracks hundreds of shale wells a year

  • He’s concerned about his “property values”; well, he better consider selling and moving now !

  • shellgirl

    ha ha ha ha ha

  • Absolutely delicious. Ugly hypocrite that he is. Pure scum

  • Maggie Henry

    absolutely beyond belief! The gall and audacity of rich people never fails to amaze! I, too, Mr Stupid Tillerson have boatloads invested in my farm, every cent my husband and I ever made is tied up in this farm, our home, leaving us w/o an option to move out of fracking/cryogenics hell. Kiss my A$$ Rex Tillerson!

  • Danny Acosta

    Well I can just bet he didn’t care about the property values of people that have had fracking done near or on their property. Amazing… and he will win lawsuit because he has deep pockets.

  • Shalefield Stories

    Funny how that works. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people living in PA without clean safe water for more than 4 years now from fracking related impacts. I’ve been saying all along, once your tell people their property values might plummet from fracking in your community you make some heads turn! They want the jobs and money but NOT IN MY BACK YARD!

  • empiresentry

    BS. Here are the facts: Cross Timbers Water Supply Corporation asked for a permit from Bartonville to build a 36 foot high water tank on the les than two acres land. Pay attention: no one had a problem with that. It was approved but they never built it.
    Property zoned RE-2 does not allow any structure taller than 35 ft. Crosstimbers water then asked for anew permit for a 160 foot tower on residential land (not commercial). The City Zoning and Council turned down the permit due to zoning and height restrictions. Crosstimbers continued building because they think that a “retail public utility” has the right to do so and do not have to comply with zoning.

    The City says no because the utility is a privately owned business.
    The City (actually a very small town) has spent over $500,000 fighting
    the private water tower. NO one is allowed to pick up the tab for the City, so
    a separate suit by private individual was filed with the Texas Supreme
    Court. This is not fracking. The water is not used for fracking. Fracking water is brought in on tenders. Not a single resident voted in support of the water tower. Specifically, Citizens United for a Rural Environment has been fighting this as well.
    This is about a 160 water tower versus a 36 foot one. The author of WSJ presumes and makes an assumption the water is for fracking. Again, no one had a problem with the 36 foot water tower.

  • DanVincent

    empiresentry got it right – this is a non-story

  • Earl of Taint

    He says he doesn’t want the water tower. He never says he doesn’t want fracking. This is some really thin gruel folks. Stop manufacturing outrage.

  • Todd Hartman

    It’s OK for you, but not me.

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