Fracking is one of the most controversial energy issues in Texas. The process of hydraulic fracturing involves injecting fluid into rocks and rock formations in order to further open already-present cracks in those rocks—a process that takes place underground, and allows more oil and gas to flow from the cracks. Energy companies have made a big play on fracking in order to increase supply to meet growing demand, without having to invest in expensive or untested alternative sources of energy.
Opponents of fracking, meanwhile, point to research that says that the process is dangerous for a number of reasons, ranging from groundwater contamination and mishandled waste to an increased propensity for earthquakes.
No matter what part of the debate you land on, it’s pretty clear that nobody wants to actually be the one who lives near the site of this type of exploration.
How do we know this? Because one of the opponents of a fracking project in Denton County is Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil—a company that proudly touts fracking as an essential part of American energy development. As WFAA.com reports:
Rex Tillerson has joined a lawsuit to stop construction of a water tower near his estate on Dove Creek Road. That water would be used in fracking, a process to drill oil and gas.
Tillerson even appeared at a Bartonville Town Council meeting to speak against it last November, saying that he and his wife moved to the area for its rural lifestyle. Tillerson told the Council that he had invested millions of dollars into their property to turn it into a cutting horse facility.
To be clear, Tillerson’s stated reasons for the suit that would prevent the fracking water tower from being built aren’t environmental, but cultural: He doesn’t want the noise, traffic, or heavy trucks to disturb his horses or lower his property values. (That didn’t stop folks on websites like Reddit from treating Tillerson’s suit as proof that fracking is unsafe.)
At the very least, the sort of NIMBYism involved in the CEO of a company that practices fracking and touts its benefits suing to prevent it from happening near his own house isn’t a good look. Tillerson may enjoy his rural lifestyle, but so do many of the people who live near the sites where his company practices hydraulic fracturing; he may value the quiet life he lives out in Bartonville, but there are a lot of people whose quiet lives have been disturbed by projects funded by Exxon.
The lawsuit is pending.