DALLAS — The first fracking trial in Texas opens in Dallas today. Bob and Lisa Parr of Wise County are suing Aruba Petroleum for property and personal damages which the couple claims they have suffered as a result of Aruba’s fracking operations. The Parr property was surrounded by natural gas frackers in 2009. The Parrs charge that frackers have so polluted their air and water as to destroy their right to peacefully enjoy their home and property and properly care for their pets and livestock, some of whom have died as a result of the fracking pollution, according to the complaint against Plano, Texas-based Aruba Petroleum.
Attorneys Brad Gilde of the Gilde Law Firm and David Matthews of Matthews & Associates – Houston, Texas-based lawyers – represent Bob and Lisa Parr and their minor daughter. The Parrs lived without legal incident on their 40-acre ranch in the country outside Dallas, until they were surrounded by frackers beginning in Nov. 2008. The fracking has polluted their air and water and natural environment, damaging their physical and emotional health, according to the complaint. A doctor certified in environmental medicine will testify that the Parrs are now partially disabled from the fracking operations. The native Texans filed suit in Dallas County Court in 2011.
More than 50 natural gas wells were drilled within two miles of the Parr property – located in Allison, a farming community in eastern Wise County – beginning in Nov. 2008. The Parrs blame spills of hazardous waste and emissions of toxic gases from production tanks and various industrial equipment for a myriad of health problems. The suit lists more than 20 symptoms the family has experienced since 2008, including nosebleeds, migraines, open sores, heart arrhythmia, abdominal pain, coughing and mental confusion which the petition claims are all classic signs of toxic poisoning. The suit’s charges include assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence. It also claims damages for pets and livestock that have sickened and/or died since the advent of nearby fracking operations.
The family has moved in and out of their home since the fracking began, sometimes staying for months in Bob Parr’s in-town office, so as to be able to sleep, the couple have said – fracking can also be noisy – and breathe clean air. An environmental health specialist conducted various tests on the family and found “natural gas chemicals, compounds, and/or metals” in their bodies, according to the suit.
Lawsuit a Last Resort
Bob Parr said the lawsuit was “a last resort. . . I need to protect my family and my way of life.”
Drilling occurs as close as 200 feet from the Parrs’ house.
No environmental impact study was ever done before the fracking started. Frackers are curently not required to employ any emissions controls.
Critics of fracking note that the practice spread like wildfire across several states when a special exemption to the clean water act was written for Halliburton in 2005 – something known in the industry as the Halliburton/Cheney loophole. The former Vice President’s company is heavily involved in fracking.
Because of the Cheney/Halliburton loophole, companies such as Aruba now frack with virtual immunity from environmental law.