First Fracking Trial in U.S. Opens in Dallas

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.

Activist Post

The first fracking trial in the U.S. opens in Dallas today. Texans 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.

Fracking illustration from the documentary Gasland 

Attorney David Matthews of Matthews & Associates and Brad Gilde – Houston, Texas-based lawyers – represent Bob and Lisa Parr and their underage daughter. The Parrs lived peacefully for years on their 18-acre ranch in the country outside Dallas, until they were surrounded by frackers 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.

The Parr property is located in Allison, a farming community in eastern Wise County. More than 50 natural gas wells were drilled within two miles of the property 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 and coughing. The suit’s charges include assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence.

The Parrs have also complained of mental confusion, which can result from toxic poisoning, as well as a host of other health problems that can be linked to toxic poisoning. The couple’s young daughter began experiencing symptoms such as nosebleeds, sometimes waking up covered in blood and crying. Several pets and livestock have sickened and/or died.

The family has moved in and out of their beleaguered home, sometimes staying in Bob Parr’s in-town office, so as to be able to sleep – 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.

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 apparently not required to employ any emissions controls. A special exemption to the clean water act was written for Halliburton in 2005 – something many call the Halliburton/Cheney loophole – so that the former Vice President’s company and others in the industry loop could frack peoples’ lands without pesky environmental regulations.

Thanks to the Cheney/Halliburton loophole, frackers like Aruba now drill through peoples’ lives and their aquifers with virtual immunity from environmental law. Frackers have been given virtual carte blanche by industry-sponsored state and national government officials.

The Declaration of Independence demands that all Americans deserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; the Parrs charge that unregulated frackers now trample those rights.

A former thoracic surgeon, Dr. William Rea, who became only the third person in the United States to become board certified in environmental medicine, will testify for the Parrs. Dr. Rea was awarded the Jonathan Forman Gold Medal Award in 1987 for outstanding research in environmental medicine.

Source: Matthews & Associates

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