They are calling this the first fracking case on trial.

wedding day

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.


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:


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. says

    The homestead was a beautiful piece of property and you could see the love, hope, pride, and hardwork that went into it. I admired it many times in my traveling on my home which was within walking distance to their property. People like the Parrs and Tim and Christine do not make this shit up. Life was a living hell after Aruba started drilling Herb Wright’s leases. Knowing what I know now it was obvious from the first well they drilled, by my home, they did not know what they were doing nor did they care. Good luck to the Parrs.

  2. Kim Feil says

    Doctor, Mayor Cluck turned off my mic when I asked him not to interrupt me during my speaking time addressing City Council. He interrupted saying I was off topic (as he had done numerous times before). I was speaking about Lisa Parr’s health effects and how the lower elevation of her home where heavy hydrocarbon fall out could be similar to the elevation of some homes near the proposed drill site being voted that night (Arlington Horse Farm drill site). Mayor Cluck is in my opinion a public enemy especially having a medical background and shutting off my mic during relevent medical testimony when I was detailing Lisa Parr’s health effects and how her pathology reports matched air testing pollutants found.

  3. Harley says

    Next time that disrespectful, obviously-involved-in-a-conspiracy puppet tries to control a human’s (you) speech you should totally march over to another mic n get what you wanna say out there. Tell them he keeps turning your mic off and claiming that the injuries of the poor, young, little girl are irrelevant to the case because in ANY trial-evidence is a necessity and he is very much destroying your evidence by silencing you at these events. This man is an evident criminal.

  4. says

    We watched in horror at the Gasland videos and were approached by two gas companies last year trying to get us to sign documents agreeing to allow them on our property. We refused and told them to take a hike, that we saw Gasland.
    We live outside of Columbiana Ohio and are surrounded by five wells that were all drilled and capped last year. One of which is on a farm and is to be fracked soon. We already had a gas well blow (older) in Lisbon, Ohio, about l0 min. from us, and had to listen to days of loud blow-off noise from the gas pumping station because they were afraid of another explosion. We are scared of what it is doing to our water table, as we have well water, as well as the air, environment, pollution to animals and the ground. We are hoping to leave this area for Florida within the next year but nothing solid as yet, and now they got approval for them to go underground to grab oil etc. under our land even if we told them to stay off.
    There are many who do not want them in this area, but just as many if not more want them…and are thinking they are going to get rich. They are fools, and are going to sign themselves into debt as the oil companies will leave and leave all that mess and pollution ponds for them to clean up at their cost plus they are not going to pay them squat for their allowing them on their land. Politicians in this area have signed our lives away and I don’t want my famiy to end up sick or dead. We have them all around us and its scaring me to death. They are all around a two miles or less from us. Not to mention the earthquakes that will start.
    Just like Arkansas, and Oaklahoma. Youngstown Ohio already had earthquakes due to injection well there- until they were forced to shut down.

    • sadie says

      I agree and am also terrified of the fracking. I live in Belmont County, Ohio where the oil industry has turned the area into a place I can hardly recognize! I don’t know if I should continue to raise my 14yr. old here.

  5. cracker cracker says

    I don’t believe any of this. Sounds like a family trying to get a bigger piece of the pie.

    • Andrew says

      You had better believe all of it. I lived in niles ohio and already there are cases of contamination and poisoning. I’ve experienced both earthquakes….but yeah this is “safe”

  6. Joleen says

    My condulences to the family and all the familys who are suffering from fracking. People please do your reashearch before posting junk.

    I believe this family and honestly our govement and represenatives need to wake up.

    If our reps wont listen, its time to boot them out!

    Wish this article gave more info to help,

  7. David says

    I don’t believe this. I worked in the oil and gas field for years. most of you don’t know how fracking works. the zone that they frack hundreds of feet below drinking water,pluse there are 3 sizes of pipe and concert in your drinking water zone. so its almost inposable for the frack water to get into your water.

    • dirk says

      “almost inposable”…. Seriously, what shill company do you work for and what country. Let them know you’re “new” job of targeting real people who have been affected by fracking needs to turn on the spellcheck in English.

      And after seeing Gasland and the follow up, we know EXACTLY how fracking works.

  8. Jim says

    I just find it funny how I know tons of people that have worked in the oil and gas industry for years.. And in the field at that. They are just fine? No ” so throats, headaches, rashes”.. Also, know guys that clean out frac tanks after their done fracking, an been doing it for years an still alive an kicking… This stuff Seems a bit funny to me.. Lol

    • says

      Well, LOL, Jim. I get contacted by people in the industry all the damn time and they frequently have rashes, headaches, sore throats, burning eyes, and many other health impacts. Plus there are studies that show an increase in blood cancers, skin cancers and skin leasions in industry workers.

      As for the flowback tanks, those are the saddest stories of all. I’ve been contacted by 5 people who were forced to clean out frack tanks without protective gear. All of them had health impacts and some lingered long after they quit the industry. One guy had chemical burns that went through his leather work boots.

      Would the idiot who believes you can stay healthy while breathing hydrocarbons please stand up.

      LOL indeed.

    • Alberta Neighbor says

      “They are just fine?”

      Sort of like smoking, eh Jim?

      Some will adapt – like people who smoke through a hole in their throat – and some won’t …

      “Before 42-year-old Jose Lara of Rifle died, he recorded a six-hour deposition detailing his work in the natural gas industry.

      ‘If I would have known the damage those tanks would do to me, I would never have cleaned them,’ an emotional Lara said through a Spanish translator in front of a camera and room full of attorneys.

      Dying from pancreatic and liver cancer, Lara described his job with Rain for Rent, a California-based company with a branch in Rifle. His job was to power-wash waste water tanks for numerous natural gas drilling companies.

      For years, Lara said he was not supplied with a respirator, protective gear, or any warning of what he could be exposed to. ‘The chemicals, the smell was so bad,’ Lara said. ‘Once I got out, I couldn’t stop throwing up. I couldn’t even talk.’ Lara said he had no idea what he was being exposed to. ‘[Rain for Rent] always talked about safety,’ Lara said. ‘But they never told me what was in those tanks.’

      Lara passed away three months after recording his deposition.”

      “This stuff Seems a bit funny to me.. Lol”

      I believe nervous laughter is treatable, best of luck to you.

  9. Anymous says

    This new fracking is bad for many reasons, but one of the most is the fact that this new fracking takes place deeper in mother earth than the old shallower O/G wells. And, when the ratio of horrizontal stress to vertical stress is correct, the facture will result in a VERTICAL FACTURE. This vertical fracture propogates mostly upward and it can go upward to a zone which whick is conducisive to a horrizontal fracture where it can go lateraly to some old abandoned oil well and then upward to a water acquifer! There are many more conditions that can exist to contaminate our drinking water from this new era VERTICAL FRACTURE.

  10. Bentley says

    I do not know or understand the procedures and regs in texas! I’ve been in the fracking business for 5 years in Arkansas and I’m just fine. I know of noone that has experienced negative effects here and Ive been a thrid party vendor for a while. Maybe its just Texas

  11. Sonny says

    This is a real problem.since they are tracking all around us.we do have some of these symptoms.our lease is up in July and we are going to have to move a huge expense we are not looking forward too we have been here four years tracking here about a year and they are escalating their tracking.shortness of breath ,itching and rashes,dizziness and exhaustion are a few of the symptoms.can not wait to get away from it.

  12. Matt Blankenship says

    Ok so I’m not understanding this. I’ve worked in the oilfield for 10 years now in Texas. I was raised in the oilfield and my father is retiring after 38 years of working in Texas and Oklahoma. So how come those of us working in it are not suffering these conditions and health issues?

  13. Anymous says

    Workers are not exposed to the toxins like a resident who lives on the land. Workers have protective clothing, masks, limited time of exposure, etc., etc. And workers are not usually present when many toxins are emitted from short stacks, for instance these emissions can be controlled via radio waves from remote locations. Also when a leak occurs from a pipeline carrying sour gas, workers are not present. And on and on it goes.

  14. clay says

    Maybe some of you should get some sound education before opening your mouths! Lol. Learn something about frac jobs.

  15. says

    I think that a constant potable water analysis performed on a regular basis, along with monitoring the air and general environment (and over a considerable length of time, I might add,) would provide scientific results that would put an end to the conflict. It’s ridiculous to try and deny scientific fact. Does anyone honestly know what the results were of any such information? All I keep reading here is speculation and hearsay. I would like to find out some facts. Save the bickering for a dramatic reality show. WTF?

    • says

      Well WTF! When we try to get a law passed to require water monitoring, the industry throws a fit and gives our lawmakers lots of money so they won’t pass that law. Still, we have baseline testing and follow up testing that shows water gets contaminated after Fracking. We have plenty of air monitoring results and infrared videos that show wells leaking and venting volatile organic compounds. Still, they frack away. Wonder what’s up with that?

  16. Kelli says

    I work as a fueler for the frac pads. I wear my protective gear. It is offered. I’m 45 live in Ohio. No health issues. The company requires health exams and such yearly.

  17. farrukh says

    I dont live in america im from pakistan but i am siesmic which means that we find gas & petrol i am in working in badin(sindh) and the water here is so bad that i am afraid of showering because when ever i do i get rashes and pus filled on my body which gives me fever cramps in all of my body loose stomach.if this happens to me in45 days while i am working over there th
    an consider what will be the condition of the people liven there

  18. Anymous says

    If hot sauce fumes can cause problems, imagine what the fumes from gas plants, compressor stations, well sites, leaking pipelines, dumping to creeks and landfarming, etc, etc can do to your. We now live in a Saudi-Texas–not suitable for quiet residential quality of life living.

  19. Texas.Gal says

    I live in Wise County, where this all took place. Until recently, the frackers were not required to tell what poisons were being pumped in the ground. Luckily that has changed. About three years, an acquaintance of mine was talking about her husband’s work. He is a fracker. Several of his co-workers are allergic to the chemicals being pumped into the ground. On the days the actual poison is going down, those workers stay home.

  20. Anon says

    I think when they say they “worked on a rig” for 20 years they actually mean “have had investments in o/g” lmao
    Most of these comments denying the harm are fake. I would advise people not to waste their keystrokes on these trolls, as the people posting them are obviously your political opponents undermining the legitimacy of this website

  21. Julie says

    You don’t have to believe it but it is real and they are really sick and have suffered for a long time. People just don’t make up this crap. Please think before you post – it is real and you cannot imagine how much they have suffered. They are not looking for a bigger piece of pie you idiot.

  22. Wayne W says

    Bob is a high school friend of mine. He was always an honest head worker man. He bought and paid for everything he has with his sweat off his brow. We have always been like are family. Good to here the last six years of hell is over for his family. No one should have to experience such hell. I’m all for free enterprise but for big gas com

    • says

      it’s not over but we should celebrate this victory. Aruba will appeal. Remember, our courts, unlike a jury of our peers, is soaked in dirty oil & gas money.

  23. Wayne W says

    Bob is a high school friend of mine. He was always an honest head worker man. He bought and paid for everything he has with his sweat off his brow. We have always been like are family. Good to here the last six years of hell is over for his family. No one should have to experience such hell. I’m all for free enterprise but for big gas companies to profit at the expense of families such as this, it’s a sin. They deserve to lose and it’s time anyone effected but the same issued as the Parr’s should be take taken care of at the expense of the BIG AROGANT GAS COMPANIES! God bless the Parr family.

  24. Thanks for the info says

    I was fascinated to find out more information about this issue coming from Tx instead of the national news one would expect. But then again Feds are again absent in action and Tx legislature is owned by corporats selling lies and destroying democracy. So, after trying but not being able to learn the truth after watching Gasland or Frackland or whatever the documentary was called, here you are. Keep up the good work! Good luck to us all who believe in life and common sense before lies and profits. Godspeed!

  25. says

    Three comments for the deniers — whether they are trolls or not, and certainly some of them are — 1. There are multiple pathways of exposure, not just during the fracking stage, but also during the chemical transport; drilling; flowback handling; processing; and transportation stages. That means air impacts, not just water; that means separators, dehydrators, compressors and storage equipment emit health-harming toxins. As to fracking per se: Cement failures are particularly well known, along with conduits from old oil and gas wells, pre-existing fractures, etc., for conveying hydrocarbons, naturally occuring toxins such as arsenic, and sometimes fracking chemicals, into groundwater. The cumulative impacts on animal and human health from both air and water are intense and increasingly well documented, from TX, WY, NM and CO to PA, OH, WV, and more. See Bamberger and Oswald’s study, Gas Drilling Impacts on Animal and Human Health.
    2. The sheer number of people impacted has escalated too enormously to be denied; to wit, over 5000 people on the List of the Harmed now.
    3. To argue that because some people are NOT impacted, therefore nobody is impacted, is simply illogical. It’s a fallacy. It’s like saying that because not everybody gets cancer from smoking, nobody gets cancer from smoking.
    To the Parrs, the Ruggieros, and all the impacted people, visible and visible, outspoken and quiet: love, compassion, health and encouragement to you! Every word of truth you have spoken has helped, and is helping, those near and far.