A jury just awarded Bob and Lisa Parr $3 million dollars in their fracking lawsuit against Aruba Petroleum. They said this was the first fracking case to go to trial. I’m trying to verify that.

Bob and Lisa Parr were neighbors to Tim and Christine Ruggiero in Wise County. I was there, in the Ruggiero kitchen, the day Lisa discovered that her timeline of doctor’s visits matched–exactly–Christine’s timeline of releases from the Aruba gas wells on her property.

Like Tim and Christine, Bob and Lisa shared all their information with me and I developed it into a case study for presentation to the EPA at Research Triangle Park and later to Gina McCarthy before she was EPA Administrator. The situation at the Parr’s and Ruggiero’s homes was so horrific, I even took Cynthia Giles, top enforcement officer for the EPA to see for herself. The Parr’s case study was added to others and published by Earthworks in Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety.

Later the Parrs were highlighted in Gasland Part 2. Today’s decision might take some of the wind out of the fracking windbags who prattle on endlessly about how inaccurate Gasland is. Twelve SIX regular people who knew nothing about fracking were presented with the facts and awarded the victims $3 million dollars. It’s going to be hard to spin that.

I have blogged extensively about the sins of Aruba Petroleum. From my view, they are one of the most irresponsible and reckless companies in a plethora of reckless and irresponsible companies.

Aruba intends to appeal the jury’s decision. That means it will go to the Texas courts where judges are soaked in oil and gas money.

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!

 
UPDATE: Their attorney has a blog post up about the verdict.

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Playing by the rules.

For nearly 5 years, Denton residents have tried everything possible to get reasonable regulation of the oil and gas industry in their city. They attended council meetings, participated in a sham drilling task force that was stacked with industry insiders, wrote letters, made phone calls, wrote draft regulations and…you name it, they tried it. They played by all the rules, dotted every “i” and crossed every “t”. Still industry is allowed to drill and frack only 250′ from neighborhoods where families with small children live.

There are already over 270 wells inside the city of Denton, Texas, but that’s not nearly enough for the industry. It’s never enough.

In a Natural Gas Intelligence article, industry spokesman, Ed Ireland, admitted that old permits issued by the fire department before the city’s oil and gas division existed allow an unlimited amount of wells to be drilled at each pad site in perpetuity

Denton-vintage-CalvinThat means there could be HUNDREDS of additional wells drilled and fracked inside Denton city limits!

A  loophole in the city ordinance allows these wells to be drilled and fracked only 200′ from homes.

As a very last resort, the Denton Drilling Awarness Group decided to circulate a petition to put to a vote an initiative to ban fracking in the city limits.

Deception that rivals the tobacco industry.

We knew industry would fight with their deep pockets and their deception but we didn’t know they would start the fight so early.

Denton residents report that they are receiving deceptive polling calls from a California number. Some residents have received several of these calls. A board member of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group received one of these calls.

Here are some of the questions reported and my response:

“How do you feel about your property taxes going up to pay for lawsuits related to the hydraulic fracturing ban?”

Flower Mound has been sued 5 times. They won 4 of those lawsuits and the 5th has been pending since 2010 with no discovery yet. Some of the court costs were returned to the city.

This is a scare tactic used by industry and some city officials have repeated this scare tactic without being fully informed. Please read “A Fracking Ban Will Not Sink the City” for a more realistic and informed opinion.

point-and-laugh-ha-ha“How do you feel about a group of liberal college students, who do not live in Denton, pushing the agenda for Frack Free Denton’s ban on hydraulic fracturing?”

This is so misleading and false it’s laughable. Frack Free Denton is the campaign of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group, which consists of: Cathy McMullen who is a registered nurse in her 50s, Adam Briggle who is a UNT professor in his 30s, Rhonda Love who is a retired professor in her 60s and Ed and Carol Soph, Ed is a UNT professor and I’m guessing Ed and Carol are 50ish. They are the board members and there are no other members. I’m am an adviser. They all own homes in Denton and have been long-time residents.

There has been zero involvement from MoveOn or any other “outside” group as one question claimed. CREDO sent out one email alert to their members. Earthworks is the only group involved and I worked in Denton for 7 years, lived there for several and will soon be moving back so my son can attend college there. So, I won’t be calling from a California number because I’m a 5th generation Texan who has never lived anywhere else.

“Would it change your opinion if you knew that this ban is illegal and will waste millions of dollars of Denton taxpayer money?”

It’s not illegal and the ban will hold up in court. Again see: “A Fracking Ban Will Not Sink the City

“…home rule cities have the inherent authority to do just about anything that qualifies as a ‘public purpose’ and is not contrary to the constitution or laws of the state.” Texas Municipal League

“Texas common law generally favors municipal authority to regulate oil and gas activities…. every direct challenge to a city’s police powers has been soundly defeated Timothy Ridley, “Wrangling with Urban Wildcatters.”

“Would it change your opinion if you knew that this ban would drive down property values throughout Denton?”

Drilling vs the American Dream: Fracking impacts on property rights and home values

Pollution Fears Crush Home Prices Near Fracking Wells

AT THE INTERSECTION OF WALL STREET AND MAIN: IMPACTS OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INTERESTS, RISK ALLOCATION, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE SECONDARY MORTGAGE MARKET

The above are only three sources that show fracking diminishes property values. It also diminishes your enjoyment of our property due to noise, lights, truck traffic and horrible odors.

And only 2% of the royalties from fracking in Denton go to families who are residents of Denton. So Denton residents are not benefiting from fracking in their city.

“Would it change your opinion if you knew it would make us one of the most over-regulated communities in the country — on the same level as FRANCE

Hundreds of American cities have banned fracking in a effort to protect families’ health and well-being and to preserve the character of their cities.

This polling gives us an idea about the talking points industry will use to fight Frack Free Denton. The industry has unlimited resources to spend in Denton, Texas. All we have are our families, our private property and our city to protect.

 

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Frank Finan who was featured in Gasland 2 and has helped people in shale extraction area across the U.S. needs YOUR help NOW.

As Frank Finan said in Gasland 2, he stepped outside the box and paid over $80k for a FLIR camera to help people who are getting blasted by hazardous pollutants from shale oil and gas facilities. He has traveled all across the U.S., often on his own nickle, to give people videos that prove exposure.

Here is a video Frank took in Karnes County Texas.

Frank’s camera is in need of a very expensive repair. Calvin Tillman and ShaleTest are asking us to pitch in and help him get his camera fixed.

Click here to help Frank.

Help Frank so he can keep helping you!

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More information posted at Daily Kos.

Aruba Petroleum–remember them–is going to trial today. They are saying this is the first fracking trial in the U.S. and I was there, up close and personal, the whole time.

Bob and Lisa Parr were neighbors to Tim and Christine Ruggiero in Wise County. I was there, in the Ruggiero kitchen, the day Lisa discovered that her timeline of doctor’s visits matched–exactly–Christine’s timeline of releases from the Aruba gas wells on her property.

I was often on the Ruggiero property and sometimes on the Parrs’. I saw the suffering of both families and experienced my own health impacts when I visited.  I gave tours to journalists, government officials, environmentalists and others so they could witness for themselves the impacts of fracking. The people on the tours often got headaches and sore throats while we were.

The Ruggiero and Parr case studies were included in Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety and I presented these case studies to the EPA at Research Triangle Park and in DC.

This is Bob, Lisa and Emma Parr on their wedding day on the 40 acres where Bob built a beautiful custom home.

wedding day

This is a picture of what their life became shortly after.

After

They were surrounded by gas wells.

Lisa’s suffered from

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nausea
  • Rashes that left her scarred with pock-marks.
  • She had biopsies of the oozing welts on her scalp and the 4 ping-pong-ball-sized lumps on her neck.
  • Testing showed drilling chemicals in Lisa’s blood and lungs that match chemicals detected by the state in air testing outside her home.
  • She had a whole host of other ailments.

Bob and Emma also suffered various health impacts.

I didn’t realize that this is the first time a fracking case has gone to trial. I guess that’s because the rest of the lawsuits get buried here:

cycle-of-fracking-denial1_638

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Is your property leased for unconventional drilling and fracking? Sorry, no mortgage for you. Do you have unconventional drilling and fracking as a neighbor? Sorry, your property has been devalued.

US Finance Post: Mortgages and Hydraulic Fracturing
Reporter: Jayson Derrick April 3, 2014

The CEO and president of the credit union is quoted as saying that if an owner allows a rig on his land, “I have to say to your neighbors,” sorry, but your property has been devalued.

Mortgage institutions are refusing mortgages on properties that are leased for unconventional drilling and fracking and on properties with wells on them.

It seems they don’t care much for the split estate either.

…the combination of property rights on the surface and drilling rights underground is one that does not work.

RuggieroHouseCrop
Tim and Christine’s home (picture) was devalued 75%.

In Argyle, TX, the Sizeloves home was valued at $361,000 on the 2009 tax rolls and was valued at $95,000 on the 2010 tax rolls.

In Arlington, Kim Feil’s home was devalued 30% because she has a facility 1/2 mile away.

Did you work hard to buy your home hoping to grab a small slice of the American pie? Sorry, but…

you’ve been fracked!

Expect things to get worse with each LNG export permit that gets approved.

Right after I posted this, I received a new article to be published in the Albany Law Review.

UPDATE to add this new research:

At the Intersection of Wall Street and Main: Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Residential Property Interests, Risk Allocation, and Implications for the Secondary Mortgage Market

A few of the many interesting points:

  • A lease diminishes a home’s market value.
  • An apparent nexus between gas drilling operations and contaminated water diminished value.
  • Structural damage to the residence represents another cause for concern.
  • Questions about restoration of property effect long term value because a mortgage lender expects the residence and land to retain its value for the life of the loan.
  • Compulsory integration creates issues that reduce value.

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OMG! I am so shocked (not) that Texas lied about the cancer cluster!

April 1, 2014

Um, hell yeah the state lied. This study sat in Governor Rick Perry’s office for months before they released it. But let’s get real here: Who thinks you can breathe hydrocarbons and not get sick? Now, would someone (besides Earthworks) please study the Dish blood and urine study conducted by the state? Because, as I’ve […]

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Denton Premier of Gasland 2! This Thursday April 3 at Dan’s Silverleaf.

March 31, 2014

Free Screening of Gasland 2 Thursday April 3rd, 7:30 p.m. at Dan’s Silverleaf Frack Free Denton, Earthworks, and the Denton Drilling Awareness Group are proud to offer a screening of Josh Fox’s Gasland 2 this Thursday April 3rd at 7:30 p.m. at Dan’sSilverleaf - 103 Industrial Street in Denton. The film is free and open to the public. Stars of […]

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ICYMI: Important fracking news

March 19, 2014

This could be a huge blow to industry. Imagine admitting you used acrylonitrile in your fracking concoction then acrylonitrile turns up in the landowner’s water. Oops! Wyoming Supreme Court Rejects Fracking Industry Argument to Withhold Chemicals As Trade Secrets “It is important for public health and safety that citizens have timely access to what chemicals […]

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Judge in Denton fracking case has conflict of interest

March 17, 2014

Judge Doug Robison who presides over the 393rd District Court and will hear Case No. 14-01430-393 where homeowners are suing EagleRidge Energy is heavily invested in the oil and gas industry and profits directly from drilling in Denton County. Forty-three homeowners in the Vintage and Meadows at Hickory Creek neighborhoods have filed a lawsuit against […]

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Denton Fracking Ban Exceeds Ballot Signature Requirement

March 14, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14 2014 CONTACT: Cathy McMullen, Denton DAG, 214-632-3735, cathymcmullen@live.com Sharon Wilson, Earthworks, 940-389-1622, swilson@earthworksaction.org FRACKING BAN EXCEEDS SIGNATURE REQUIREMENT TO GET ON NOVEMBER BALLOT In face of city govt opposition, group continues signature drive at local events Denton, TX (Mar 14) – Frack Free Denton today announced they have gathered substantially […]

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Fracking Boom Would Increase California’s Earthquake Danger, Report Finds

March 13, 2014

Earthworks * Clean Water Action * Center for Biological Diversity press RELEASE: Mar 13, 2014 Contacts: Alan Septoff, (202) 887-1872×105, aseptoff@earthworksaction.org Patrick Sullivan, (415) 517-9364, psullivan@biologicaldiversity.org Andrew Grinberg, (415) 369-9172, agrinberg@cleanwater.org Fracking Boom Would Increase California’s Earthquake Danger, Report Finds Hundreds of Oil Wastewater Wells Near Active Faults and Major Cities Already Raising Quake Risk […]

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