Pity the poor PR man.
In Texas there’s been a recent embarrassment. Bartonville is a Dallas suburb where the wealthy relax on their hobby horse farms posing as hobby cowpokes. But some of these J.R. wannabes have had their idyll disturbed by the local water utility’s plan to build an immense 15-story water tower. They’ve sued to stop the project on the grounds that it would create ”a noise nuisance and traffic hazard” according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.
Turns out all that water is needed not for the drinking and bathing needs of the population of 1600, but because of the increasing number of hydraulic fracking wells being drilled in the vicinity. There goes the neighborhood, as they say.
An anti-fracking protest in oil besotted Texas is already news, but it gets better. Or worse, if you are doing PR for the oil industry, because one of the plaintiff’s is Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil. Oops.
To be fair, Tillerson (his lawyer actually), clams his objection is not to the fracking, the traffic, the noise but because the tower would be an eyesore reducing the property value of his 83 acre horse farm and 18 acre homestead.
Well, maybe it is all aesthetic and economic concerns motivating Tillerson, but one can’t help suspecting he and his neighbors don’t mind fracking, drilling and refining so long as they take place where less wealthy people live. People whose property hasn’t got much value to lose and whose health is worth risking in order to make Exxon Mobil a buck.
But we already know that. This is the same XOM that was responsible for despoiling Alaska with the Valdez spill. It has also been fined $105 million recently for polluting ground water in New York and $236 million for doing the same in New Hampshire. It has illegally pumped 10 million pounds of pollutants into the air over the largest refinery in the United States near Houston. And the attorney general of Pennsylvania is investigating the spilling of 57,000 gallons of fracking pollutants in his state where a study has found 115 of 141 wells near fracking sites have been contaminated with methane.
Not a peep from Tillerson about aesthetic or property value issues in Alaska, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania or Houston, however. Only about eyesores in his Bartonville backyard. You can’t be too careful of your property’s value when you’re scraping by on a paltry $40 million a year. You may want to stick to Perrier or Evian, too. Maybe even for the horses.