Judge in Denton fracking case has conflict of interest

Robison_HollwoodJenkins1-H

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 EagleRidge Energy, seeking up to $25 million in damages for creating what the suit claims are nuisances that have diminished the value of their properties.
Denton Record Chronicle: Lawsuit filed against company

EagleRidge Energy drilled and fracked several wells about 250 feet from the Vintage and Meadows neighborhoods. This process took several months, exposed them to nuisances including noise, lights, truck traffic and toxic chemicals that trespassed onto their property. Now their homes are neighbors to two heavy industrial facilities and they are left with ongoing disturbances, risk of repeated exposures and diminished property values.

Judge Robison’s financial records along with many other officials are available at the Denton Record Chronicle . If homeowners win a lawsuit against any operator in the Denton area, it will make things harder for other operators. Finding for the homeowners would have a direct impact on Robison’s pocketbook.

The Record-Chronicle evaluated hundreds of pages of personal financial statements for 53 county and city officials as part of Sunshine Week, a 13-year-old national initiative by journalists and open-government advocates held in March to promote public access to government records. Sunshine Week begins today and ends Friday.
Denton Record Chronicle: Close to the vest

Here are some items of interest in Robison’s financial records.

First up, Robison receives royalty payments on minerals rights that were leased to Hillwood Oil & Gas Operating Co. Lp. The Whitehead Hall Unit 1h and Jenkins Unit 1h were both drilled from the same padsite.

Whitehead Hall & Jenkins wells circled in pink, padsite labeled.
Robison_HollwoodJenkins1-H

This Hillwood well is the one that caused a haze of fumes around Argyle High School and caused the students  to complain about health effects.

Parents voice health concerns LINK FIXED (pdf)
Gas drilling near Argyle schools making kids ill, residents tell board
Sunday, October 24, 2010
By Lowell Brown and Britney Tabor

Complaints about students with nosebleeds, dizziness, disorientation and nausea started appearing on the alliance’s blog in early October. Some residents reported smelling rotten eggs, a smell associated with sulfides, while others reported odors similar to gas, pesticides and fingernail polish remover.

Here is a map showing the Hillwood padsite for the Whitehead Hall and Jenkins wells 1/2 mile from Argyle High School. Larger version

school map

The TCEQ did testing because of numerous complaints and found 64 different chemicals on the lot where the high school band practices. This is significant because baseline testing in the area before drilling was well advanced showed only 7 chemicals and toxicologists now know that co-exposures to two carcinogens can double your risk of cancer. Toxicologists are just beginning to study the mixtures of chemicals and how they can magnify the effects as explained in this excellent video by Dr. David Brown.

I accompanied a bunch of the parents to speak at the Argyle ISD Board Meeting. Robison was a board member for the Argye ISD from 2000-2006 so he wasn’t there when we spoke. While he was on the board, he recused himself from discussions about oil and gas on May 15, 2006, which is an admission of a conflict of interest. (He likely recused himself other times but I’m too lazy to look those up.)

Robison knew the value of minerals even back in 2006 when he sold a chunk of land in Argyle and retained the mineral rights. If fracking expands in that area he stands to make significant profits.

Judge Doug Robison retained minerals on land sale to DEMA

Here are some other items on Robison’s financial statement that I found interesting.

He owns stock in the following companies:

Adam’s Resources & Energy, Inc
Boardwalk Pipeline Partners
Cheniere Energy Partners LP holds a permit to export natural gas from the Gulf Coast and some of that gas could come from Denton.
Chevron
Cliff’s Natural Resources
Compass Minerals
ConocoPhillips
Copona Energy LLC
CSX Corp – profits from shipping related materials
DCP Midstream Partners LP
Devon Energy Corporation – one of the main operators in Denton County.
Diamond Offshore Drilling
ExxonMobil
Hess Corp
Holly Energy Partners LLP
Linn Energy
Magellan Midstream Partners
Monsanto – not an oil and gas corporation but seriously?
Nestle – profits from selling water for fracking and a heinous, evil corporation.
Phillips 66
Schlumberger
US Silica Holdings – supplies frac sand
Valero Energy Corp
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners Ltd – has a really nasty facility in Ponder
Kinder Morgan Inc DE
Spectra Energy Corp.
Breitburn Energy Partners Unit LP
Royal Dutch Shell PLC ADR
Titan International
Ultra Petroleum Corp.

He receives royalties from the following companies:

Hillwood Operating, LP

And he owes a note of between $1000 and $9999 to

DTN Operating company

Robison owns more acreage in the Argyle area and our investigations are ongoing. But this is plenty of proof that Robison should recuse himself from hearing this case.

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.

Comments

  1. Jana says

    Excellent post. There are many players in this as well. Follow your leads and look at the others involved and you will begin to get a good grasp on how Argyle was leased. The involvement is deep, very deep.

      • Jana says

        I’m happy to share. One lead takes you to another. I investigated Hillwood (Ross Perot, Jr. and the many aliases of all things Hillwood) years ago when their heavy hand came into our area. The holdings spread throughout many neighborhoods and the pipelines that connect the many sites. It includes the school district leases, elected officials, and many other companies. Let me know what you need and I am happy to continue my quest. Your post was excellent and helps shine light on the court battle that my neighbors are embarking on. I’m surprised Judge Douglas Robison didn’t automatically recuse himself. He actually gave me advice years ago and said I should not speak out against corporations with my personal knowledge of their wrongdoings. He told me they would sue me, so I asked him about freedom of speech, especially when it was about me speaking the truth and exposing fraud.

        • says

          Well, the schools and cities have signed leases and received bonus checks on much of their land in North Texas. If you look at just about any pooled unit near a city there will be school property and/or city property holding a big chunk of the leasehold.

          Hell hath no fury like a school district or city spurned by citizens who don’t want drilling operations near their children, parks schools and homes. Someone who holds a leadership position in our city said to me the other day…”what do you mean there are emissions and leaks coming off of the pad sites”? Ignorance of all of it is still more the rule than the exception around these parts.

          When they say, “oh, you’re a liberal,” and can then try to convince themselves and anyone else who will listen that you should be ignored with just that one word…well, that’s a really very dumb thing.
          WCGasette recently posted..Vapors, Storage Tanks, Static Electricity = Catastrophic Explosion.My Profile

  2. Anymous says

    Am wondering if this Judge Robison is any kin to a lawyer named Ken(Kenneth) Robison in Booger County?

  3. Alberta Neighbor says

    “Judge in Denton fracking case has conflict of interest”

    That’s an understatement, could his diversificationally-challenged financial advisor help him shove another egg in that basket?

    Excellent. Well done Sharon.

  4. Flo says

    Funny. Only in Texas can you easily get away with being in charge of regulating or ruling on Oil and Gas while your wife, husband, father, mother, aunts, uncles, horses, cows, cats and your dogs own acres and acres of mineral property that is already fracked upon or anxiously waiting upon its spud date(s). Freedom, Liberty!

  5. Anymous says

    Texas is certainly OIL SOAKED. We are rapidly becoming the new Saudi-Texas. Nearly the whole state is no longer suitible for quality of life residential living–only good for oil worker at a worksite camp. If you must live in Tx. save your money and spend the bare minimum on a place to live–so that when the GasHoles move in on you, be prepared to RUN and move on down the road.