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.