April 11, 2014 — Trial is underway for a family in Texas seeking $9 million in damages for health problems they developed after more than 50 natural gas wells opened up within a 2-mile radius of their home, according to Law360. It is the first-ever trial in a contentious dispute involving hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
Robert and Lisa Parr of Wise County, Texas, filed a lawsuit against Aruba Petroleum. They allege that fracking wells near their property caused them to be exposed to toxic chemicals, industrial waste, and poisonous gases. The are pursuing negligence claims against Aruba for lose property value due to pollution.
The Parrs told FOX 4 local news that they couldn’t drink their well water and couldn’t even breathe the air without getting sick:
“Lisa says she made several trips to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for up to two dozen unexplained symptoms while living in their home — everything from rashes to nausea and exhaustion.”
The family also says their daughter suffered severe nosebleeds. An environmental doctor discovered that they had several neurotoxins in their bloodstream that matched the chemicals used in fracking.
The family originally filed suit in 2011 against Halliburton, Encana Oil & Gas, and Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Co. Halliburton convinced a judge to dismiss claims. Encana and Burlington agreed to settle with the Parrs for about $400,000.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process for extracting pockets of natural gas. “Fracking,” as it is called, involves injecting a secret mixture of chemicals, sand, water, and other substances at extremely high pressure into the ground. No one knows exactly what chemicals are being used because the recipe is a “trade secret.”
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