ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has decided to join a lawsuit to prevent fracking from “devaluing” his property in Texas. Tillerson, whose company and industry avidly promote the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing and attempt to block regulatory oversight, wants to prevent the process from coming to his neighborhood.
Tillerson once famously said, “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” Now it seems that, because he could be personally inconvenienced and his property could be devalued, the CEO has decided that saving the environment, at least on his multi-million dollar Texas property, may not be such a bad thing after all.
The lawsuit, which Tillerson joined, cites the inconveniences and negative consequences of fracking while seeking to block the construction of a 160-foot water tower associated with the process. The well would provide water to a nearby fracking operation, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the complaint, the water tower “Will sell water to oil and gas explorers for fracing [sic] shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks on FM 407, creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.”
“These are luxury properties worth multiple millions of dollars,” it continues. “Each of the homeowners built or purchased their homes in Bartonville to live in an upscale community free of industrial properties, tall buildings, and other structures that might devalue their properties and adversely impact the rural lifestyle they sought to enjoy.”
Perhaps Tillerson neglected to consider the devastation to other Americans’ properties when he advocated the process and spoke out against fracking rules, which he believes hinder development. In 2012, Tillerson said that federal “dysfunctional regulation is holding back the American economic recovery, growth, and global competitiveness.”
That same year, Tillerson downplayed the risks of hydraulic fracturing during a presentation at the Council on Foreign Relations, Grist reports. The consequences of a “misstep” in the fracking process could be “mitigated” and would only seem significant to those living in the immediate vicinity of the well, Tillerson said. “This is an old technology just being applied, integrated with some new technologies,” he added. “So the risks are very manageable.”
Across the country, Americans have been swindled by the oil and gas industry into sacrificing their land to the natural gas boom. Fracking has caused far more serious risks than just noise and traffic hazards, including polluting water tables across the country, and causing illness in people and animals as well as killing livestock and pets.
Many families have been left without potable water. In some cases, residents have been forced to relocate or truck in massive amounts of fresh water in order to remain living on their land. Residents have been forced to negotiate with the polluting companies and some families have even agreed to gag orders in order to settle with polluters so that they can afford to relocate or bring in fresh water supplies.
Tillerson’s attorney claims he is concerned with the devaluation of his property and not with fracking specifically, ClimateProgress reports. Regardless, Tillerson’s opposition to fracking on his land highlights the hypocrisy of the oil and gas industry and its proponents who clearly believe in devaluing and polluting others’ lands for a profit, but not their own.
Alisha is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow her on Twitter @childoftheearth.