The Internet has become a stomping ground for outrageous stories that are destined to go viral. The latest one concerns Rex Tillerson, Chief Executive and Chairman of ExxonMobil Corporation. It’s the kind of narrative that late night comedians dream of.
Tillerson has become part of a legal suit against the potential construction of a water tower near his property. He showed up at a town meeting in Bartonville, Texas, to express his distress and dismay. Why? Well, in close proximity to the site, he owns a horse ranch that covers 83 acres — as well as a home situated nearby on an 18-acre spread. The tower would measure 160 feet high, or the equivalent of 15 stories. The lawsuit that Tillerson is a part of, along with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, claims that the placement is illegal within the context of local zoning ordinances.
And one of the purposes of the tower? To store water for use in fracking.
The irony of the situation is evident. In the United States, ExxonMobil has the largest footprint as a producer of natural gas by fracking.
According to FracFocus, in March of 2012, Texas had 6,000 oil and gas fracking wells. Rather than underscoring a concern about what fracking can do to drinking water, water supplies, the environment and public health, the complaints from the affluent neighborhood have pointed to an increase in traffic from trucks and noise issues as their top causes for apprehension.
In an effort to distance himself from the fracking debate, Tillerson has explained via counsel that his primary issue is about property values — and the destruction of the view from his home.
If Tillerson really wanted to get the scoop on the downside of fracking, there is plenty of information for him to mine from neighbors in his state. Residents of Azle believe that the thirty earthquakes they have experienced since November 2013 have been as a result of fracking. Or, he might take a visit to the low-income communities, disproportionately of color, that have been bearing the brunt of illness issues related to petrochemical activity.
The property that Tillerson is fighting to protect is estimated to be worth $5 million. His total compensation for 2012, as listed by Forbes, was $40,266,501.
While the rest of the country suffers from the actions of ExxonMobil, Tillerson will always be able to finance his way out of a pollution problem. According to the article in the Wall Street Journal, Tillerson told the council meeting he attended, that if the tower were built, he might have to consider moving.
Unlike the other people whose lives and property have been destroyed by fracking, he has the financial resources to make that choice.