Letter from the Eagle Ford Shale tells of rashes, nosebleeds and misery


I didn’t check my mail yesterday. I’m glad.

When I read the letter today, I cried.


We still suffer frequent headaches and have restless nights. [Son’s name] still gets nosebleeds, depending on what is going on nearby. [Husband’s name] had gotten a rash down both arms. Our doctor gave him a steroid, antifungal ointment. The doctor said that he had seen rashes on other people since this oil industry came to town.

The letter goes on to tell of many neighbors who suddenly have rashes. I remember the people I know who lived near fracking and suffered from rashes and the reported increase in skin lesions near fracking.

Here is a picture of one of the many flares near where these people live. It is a Marathon Flare. I took video of Marathon flares when I was last in the Eagle Ford Shale. Marathon is not operating their flares properly.

Wasn’t that young man who died recently from flowback vapors working at a Marathon site? I believe he was.

More from the letter:

We smell horrible aromas, to include the nauseating garlic like smell of H2S, at our home. It is sometimes very heavy on [the nearby farm road]. I have resorted to holding my breath until we pass those areas. The smells can’t be avoided because of the tanker truck yards, pits and rigs on this road. The flares, as I have mentioned, leave dark smoke trails; all of which surround us. No matter which way the wind blows, we’re doomed to inhale it. I’ve noticed uneaten, dead birds, in our yard.

I remember this video of a bird dying in Argyle – Bartonville after a release. That day there were seven dead birds in the yard. I also remember the day all the bugs fell dead out of the sky and trees.

There is no way out. There is only the knowledge that we aren’t safe, and it will only become worse.

The only people enjoying the benefits are those who already had the means to relocate, or the people who have become millionaires overnight. We, along with others, can only hope for enough royalties to relocate and pay any remaining mortgages here off. The money wer receive will not be spent on extra luxuries, but, instead on new expenses created for us by the oil industry.

I have not seen any enormous difference at the pumps, have you? Has anyone seen a difference that would justify destroying the planet and its people’s health, or life?

We have lost the ability to breathe clean air, peace and quiet, privacy, safety. The enjoyment of gazing at the sea of stars has been replaced with rig and flare lights. Our house shakes with the drilling and fracing; tape and float fall apart, as do mud spackle and paint.

This next part is the hardest part. I know so many who could have written these words.

There is another matter near and dear to our hearts, and to anyone having children. My son is [son’s age]. We only have a few more special childhood years with him remaining. He and I used to enjoy a long, almost 6 mile walk. The roads make a complete square around our home. We used to ride our bikes up [farm road]. We had set a goal of riding 4 miles up to the corner store, eating lunch, and then riding home. We had managed to come very close to achieving this goal, but the traffic has made it impossible to take part in either of these mother and son moments ever again. That hurts so much. [Name of husband] and I are [age]. We have a limited amount of time that we will be capable of doing such activities with [name of son]. They have taken what would have been cherished memories and bonding moments away from us. That can’t be expressed in words.

They tried talking with Marathon but Marathon is like a Honey Badger.

These are very hardworking Americans who have suddenly found themselves in a sacrifice zone.

Is this the American way? Is this the best we can do? 

Pictures from their family album. EDIT: Just to be clear, these pictures were taken near where the letter writer lives but they were not taken by the letter writer. Many people send me pictures.


I received another letter.

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. Jana says

    I have tears in my eyes after reading this post. I have heard from so many people who were non-believers that they just didn’t understand the total hell those of us who live in the patch, aka sacrifice zone live with until the industry took a huge, steamy dump in their back yard, then they get it. Re-posted below is a quote from one of your newer posts that sums it up, “You can literally put facts in front of people, and they will just ignore them,” said Mark Lubell, the director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at the University of California, Davis. I wasn’t born an activist, the industry made me one. I’m only sorry my health now limits how much I can contribute. For all the gas holes reading this post, know this, I still have a voice, and I will use it in all ways possible to expose, educate and continue to share with non believers, never forget, I BEAT YOU! I’m only sorry I could not help more than my little neighborhood. To those living the nightmare, you have my love, support, and prayers, God bless you and your families.


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