ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has joined a lawsuit against frackers setting up operations near his Texas home, arguing that the related infrastructure, noise, traffic and fumes would lower his property value and degrade quality of life in the neighborhood. The news generated headlines Friday and prompted Colorado Congressman Jared Polis to welcome the head of the largest natural gas company in the country to the growing community of Americans battling back the advance of the frackers.
“I would like to officially welcome Rex to the ‘Society of Citizens Really Enraged When Encircled by Drilling’ (SCREWED),” Polis was quoted in a release. “This select group of everyday citizens has been fighting for years to protect their property values, the health of their local communities, and the environment. We are thrilled to have the CEO of a major international oil and gas corporation join our quickly multiplying ranks.
The frackers targeted by Tillerson proposed erecting a 160-foot water tower near his home to supply drilling operations. Tillerson hasn’t said he worries about any lasting health effects from fracking, although many American residents in gaslands across the country have protested operations conducted by his company for contaminating water and fouling the air.
“I could not agree more with the lawsuit Rex is a party to, when they say that the fracking occurring near the homes in question would be ‘detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare…in the neighborhood,’” Polis said. “I also sympathize with the concerns that Rex has regarding losing property value, a concern thousands of Coloradoans also face. I would welcome Rex to join the conversation that I, and thousands of other homeowners across the country have already been engaged in, to find a way to promote domestic energy sources in a manner that doesn’t deteriorate the quality of life for Americans living near these resources.”
Polis might be forgiven for sharing out his schadenfreude. Last year he leveled a complaint against Sundance Energy, which set up illegal fracking operations near his home in Weld County, where drillers have descended in record numbers over the last few years, setting up operations next to homes, schools and nature preserves in a boom-time frenzy. In January, acting on Polis’s complaint, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission upheld a $26,000 fine against Sundance, finding that the company violated setback rules. The Polis complaint came as residents of cities across the Colorado Front Range voted for bans and moratoriums on fracking. Those votes have drawn lawsuits from drilling companies and the state.