No Fracking Way

Exxon CEO Supports Home Rule in His Back Yard

by Chip Northrup on February 21, 2014

Turns out that Mega Fracker Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil CEO, is a staunch supporter of Home Rule – local zoning ordinances, when they would keep a frack water supply tower away from his house – which is located in a town that had a moratorium on fracking. So he is suing  in support of Home Rule in order to keep the frack water supply tower (and the frack water trucks) away from his house. His co-plaintiff in the lawsuit to block the frack water tower is the eponymous Dick Armey, Tea Party lobbyist and Cheney side-kick.

Neo NIMBY Rex Tillerson has attacked fractavists, including Josh Fox, as NIMBYs – that use local zoning ordinances to prohibit fracking and fracking infrastructure. Such as compressors. And frack water towers. Fellow NeoNIMBY Dick Armey has been the Koch brother’s lobbyist on Capital Hill. 

For New Yorkers, this is particularly ironic, since Exxon’s only shale gas well permit application in the state is smack dab next to a trout stream.  Exxon is one of the biggest fracking lobbyists in New York and its lobbyists have bankrolled legal briefs to try to overturn local ordinances – Home Rule as applied to fracking and shale gas infrastructure – including fracking moratoriums like the one that had been in effect in Tillerson’s home town.

All this just goes to show that we’re all NIMBYs – it’s just a matter of how large we define our “backyard” – the area next to our house, our town, our region, our state, or our country.

February 20, 2014 5:45 PM

Exxon CEO Joins Suit Citing Fracking Concerns

Residents of Dallas Suburb Fight Construction of Tower That Would Provide Water for Fracking

Fracking Rex

Fracking Rex

While fracking and other drilling techniques have opened up large reserves of oil and natural gas in Texas, they’ve also caused literal headachestraffic jams and fatal accidents, and strains on water supplies. As a result, some Texas communities are pushing back: Dallas has passed strict limits on drilling; citizens in Denton, Texas are working ban on drilling altogether within city limits.  And now joining the list of residents who don’t want some fracking infrastructure in their backyard? Rex Tillerson, head of ExxonMobil, which is the largest producer of natural gas in the country. He is suing to support his town’s local zoning ordinance: Tillerson’s town had a moratorium on fracking, modeled after Denton’s.
Not Even the Head of Exxon Wants Fracking Operations In His Neighborhood


Rancho Rex & Frack Water Tower

Rancho Rex & Frack Water Tower

DANIEL GILBERT  Some Bartonville residents oppose the water tower, because it could bring fracking-related traffic. 

BARTONVILLE, Texas—One evening last November, a tall, white-haired man turned up at a Town Council meeting to protest construction of a water tower near his home in this wealthy community outside Dallas. The man was Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp.

He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,” in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, which requires heavy trucks to haul and pump massive amounts of water, unlocks oil and gas from dense rock and has helped touch off a surge in U.S. energy output.

It also is a core part of Exxon’s business. The lawsuit – that Mr. Tillerson is the lead plaintiff in – cites the side effects of fracking, namely the frack truck traffic: 

Uber NIMBYs  v Frack Water Tower

Uber NIMBYs v Frack Water Tower

An Exxon spokesman said Mr. Tillerson declined to comment. The company “has no involvement in the legal matter” and its directors weren’t told of Mr. Tillerson’s participation, the spokesman said.

The dispute over the 160-foot water tower goes beyond possible nuisances related to fracking. Among the issues raised: whether a water utility has to obey local zoning ordinances and what are the rights of residents who relied on such laws in making multi-million-dollar property investments. The latter point was the focus of Mr. Tillerson’s comments at the November council meeting.

The tower would be almost 15 stories tall, adjacent to the 83-acre horse ranch Mr. Tillerson and his wife own and a short distance from their 18-acre homestead. Mr. Tillerson sat for a three-hour deposition in the lawsuit last May, attended an all-day mediation session in September and has spoken out against the tower during at least two Town Council meetings, according to public records and people involved with the case.

The Exxon chief isn’t the most vocal or well-known opponent of the tower. He and his wife are suing under the name of their horse ranch, Bar RR Ranches LLC, along with three other couples. The other lead plaintiffs are former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey and his wife, who have become fixtures at Town Council meetings.

Mr. Tillerson, 61 years old, moved to Bartonville in 2001 and became CEO in 2006. Since 2007, companies have fracked at least nine shale wells within a mile of the Tillerson home, according to Texas regulatory and real-estate records.

NeoNIMBY & Friend

NeoNIMBY & Friend

The last to do so was XTO Energy Inc., in August 2009, according to Texas regulators. Mr. Tillerson had just begun talks for Exxon to acquire XTO. Four months later, Exxon swallowed its smaller rival for $25 billion, becoming America’s biggest gas producer.

In 2011, Bartonville denied Cross Timbers a permit to build the water tower, saying the location was reserved for residences. The water company sued, arguing that it is exempt from municipal zoning because of its status as a public utility.In May 2012, a state district court judge agreed with Cross Timbers and compelled the town to issue a permit. The utility resumed construction as the town appealed the decision.

Later that year, the Armeys, the Tillersons and their co-plaintiffs sued Cross Timbers, saying that the company had promised them it wouldn’t build a tower near their properties. They also filed a brief in support of the town’s appeal. Last March, an appellate judge reversed the district judge’s decision saying he had overstepped his jurisdiction and sent the case back to the lower court, where it is pending. Meanwhile, the utility has reached out to Bartonville voters, who in November elected two members to the council who criticized the town’s fight against the tower, which would be located near Tillerson’s house, shown below:

Tillerson's Litte Ranch House

Tillerson’s Litte Ole Ranch House

“The council is currently evaluating all options,” said Bill Scherer, Bartonville’s mayor pro tem.

In the wake of the election, Mr. Tillerson was among those who lined up in a windowless hall to address the council. He told officials that he and his wife settled in Bartonville to enjoy a rural lifestyle and invested millions in their property after satisfying themselves that nothing would be built above their tree line, according to the council’s audio recording of the meeting.

Allowing the tower in defiance of town ordinances could open the door to runaway development and might prompt him to leave town, Mr. Tillerson told the council. “I cannot stay in a place,” he said, “where I do not know who to count on and who not to count on.”

Exxon CEO Against Fracking If It Affects His Property Value

How Exxon’s CEO ended up on the side of plaintiffs concerned about fracking

Texas Sharon’s take on the irony: “I was at the Bartonville Town Council meeting the night Rex and Dick appeared to speak about the frack water tower. Rex and Dick were given as long as they wanted to speak. We were held to a strict 3 minutes. It was surreal because several in the audience were sick from the gas well emissions, including Zoe who had oozing lesions all over her body that mysteriously cleared up when she moved away.”

Rex & Dick Fight Fracking

Rex & Dick Fight Frack Water Tower In Backyards

Home Rule In Fracksylvania

Home Rule In Fracking Bartonville !

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

vera scroggins February 21, 2014 at 8:07 am

Great news to see that Rex will fight development near his ranch and wants to retain his rural life.
Maybe he can commiserate with others who want to keep their rural life and not have industrialization
near their homes, schools…..


TXsharon February 21, 2014 at 8:58 am

I was at the Bartonville Town Council meeting the night Rex and Dick appeared to speak about the evil, toxic, polluting water tower. Oh wait! We were the ones there to speak about the toxic and polluting… gas wells.

Rex and Dick were given as long as they wanted to speak. We were held to a strict 3 minutes. It was surreal because several in the audience were sick from the gas well emissions, including Zoe who had oozing lesions all over her body that mysteriously cleared up when she moved away.


vera scroggins February 21, 2014 at 9:12 am

Rex and Dick spoke longer and had special privileges– how much longer and did anyone protest? They and their families can feel the pain of what others are feeling all over the US…..


Kim Feil February 21, 2014 at 9:06 am

“we (rex)bulls wobble and we don’t fall down”…..yep that punch line to the joke of the kids pushing on sleeping cows comes to mind….Rex is a sleeping cow that was just awoken to the notion that a homestead can and will be violated regardless of how much money or influence you may have….he needs to lose this fight….its only fair.


Gerri Wiley February 21, 2014 at 10:32 am

I wonder who draws the line between those who deserve clean air, water, and beautiful, quiet communities and those who don’t?


Chip Northrup February 21, 2014 at 10:40 am

The Golden Rulers


Stephanie Low February 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

You know, this may sound mean-spirited, but if you can bear it, let Exxon build its water tower and Rex get those lesions and his family lose their sleep. Remove your support for Home Rule this one time so someone with a LOT of money and power gets to find out how it feels to be powerless and sick and unable to count on help from people/groups he’s always thought held up the universe. That may be the beginning of compassion that could change things. Of course, Rex can just move, but he’ll lose the millions he invested in that McMansion b/c nobody wants to live near fracking.


Chip Northrup February 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

It proves one thing: we’re all NIMBYs. Just a matter of where we define our “backyard” to be. And how much we value clean air, fresh water, and an un-cooked planet.


Bea Howe February 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Money rules and money talks. Nothing else matters anymore. Too bad they are upset about their potentially loss of view and loss of water. Join the thousands of others gentlemen that you care nothing about. A dose of your own medicine, see how you like it.


JC Carey February 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

As a science major I know natural gas is methane, CH4 is the molecule. Anyways, I did not realise the leaking of methane during fracking production, can negate the benefits in saving green house gas emissions of carbon dioxide by losing small amounts of methane / natural gas. This is because the methane / natural gas is so much more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The leaks in fracking we have all seen on TV with people setting their well water on fire. I guess in busses and other vehicles using natural gas, there are small amounts released in tank fill up and vehicle operation.

Good reporting and good points against fracking. Thank you. BTW according to Wikipedia methane would trap 86 times more heat if released into the atmosphere than the same amount of carbon dioxide, CO2.

Seems fracking releases loads of this gas!


Holy FRACK! February 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm

What a fracking joke! Hypocrisy at is finest folks! This shows just how out of touch the 1% are with the 99%. ExxonMobil has bullied those cites, counties & homeowners that have tried to sue them to stop projects like the one Mr. Tillerson is so outraged about!!! So basically isn’t he sorta just suing himself? People like this don’t care about safety regulations, EPA regulations or people in general. It’s the mighty dollar they have a relationship with! Watch as he uses his money to support a Tea Turd Candidate that wants less government, like The EPA to further their Fracking Cause. Gullible citizens that support their hand picked candidates do this by telling what you want hear not what the candidates are planning on doing once elected. These vultures just like the Koch Brothers don’t care about these citizens they just want someone(candidate & special interest groups) to do their dirty work. They bankroll and fund the crap of their hand picked candidates campaigns all the while hiding in the shadows. They never speak in public or news interviews because people will do it for them. So my Question Is: “don’t those supporting their idelogy & views realize their supporting something that is against their(your) best interest?”Wake up these slime balls are buying government to further their agenda. They want no regulations so they can deepen their pockets. They could care less about your home, land, town, city, county or state. Just read about the growing number of earthquakes in Oklahoma! If you vote for their candidates these scum support then you CAN NOT whine or moan once a well, water tower, pipeline or project like this runs right through your community! THINK!!!!’ Think before voting this mid-election 2014. They could give a FRACK about your livelihood.


Smithk284 March 26, 2014 at 6:05 am

Very nice! begadeaeac


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