Texas ranch family gets $3 million in 'fraccident' suit
A jury in Dallas, Texas awarded nearly $3 million to a family for health problems they said they suffered as a result of a fracking operation a few kilometres from their farm.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process by which micro-fractures are created in shale rock to free hydrocarbons by combining the injection of a high-pressure fluid and horizontal drilling.
UPI reports the family's lawyer claims, "Robert and Lisa Parr, along with their young daughter, began experiencing health problems in 2009, after Aruba began drilling the first of 20 wells which the company operates less than two miles from the Parr’s ranch near Decatur, Texas — about 45 miles northwest of Fort Worth."
During proceedings the Parr family reported symptoms such as severe headaches, rashes, vertigo, nausea and chronic nosebleeds, including one instance when their daughter "woke up in the middle of the night covered in blood."
Fred Stern, a spokesman for Aruba Petroleum, told Al Jazeera in an emailed statement that "the facts of the case and the law as applied to those facts do not support the verdict. Natural gas development has long been prevalent in Wise County with hundreds of wells drilled and currently operated by dozens of companies. Aruba is just one of those operators."
Activist group Earth Justice says there are over 12,000 gas wells in the Barnett Shale surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth area and points to numerous incidents (or "fraccidents") including in the region.
Image by Daniel Foster