Saturday, February 22, 2014

No, Exxon's CEO does not oppose fracking near his home

The links being passed around today about Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson trying to block fracking near his Texas ranch are wrong. People love a good hypocrisy story, but all the irony of the story is based on confusion stemming from purposely-vague headlines.

For example:

Exxon CEO Comes Out Against Fracking Project Because It Will Affect His Property Values

Exxon CEO Joins Suit Citing Fracking Concerns

The CEO of Exxon loves fracking, as long as it doesn't spoil his view

In reality, the lawsuit is about a proposed 160 foot water tower, which is the height of a 16-story building according to the court documents. Tillerson and his neighbors live in a residential zone that does not allow the construction of tall buildings, but the Bartonville Water Supply Corporation is considered a public utility and claims exemption from zoning restrictions in its attempt to build the water-collecting tower. They think it will spoil their view and want it stopped.

The poor logic here is that Hydraulic fracturing use water, and Tillerson and  his company support fracking, so therefor Tillerson is hypocritical to oppose any structure that collects water. That's a huge leap of faith.

A few places are claiming the well is intended for fracking, but those same sources have already demonstrated sloppy reporting standards and should be treated with suspicion. The HuffPo backed away from those claims with its story, which has the very mild title: Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson Sues To Block Water Tower That Might Supply Fracking Operations.


Tucked into the complaint are also concerns that the Bartonville Water Supply Corp. will sell some of the stored water to energy companies for hydraulic fracturing -- also known as fracking -- and hauling the water away will create a "noise nuisance and traffic hazards."

That's because it's water. It's just a normal water tower. There's nothing in the actual events about fracking occurring near the Tillerson ranch, or that the well is being built with the intention of supplying water to fracking operations. It just collects water, and his opposition is about zoning restrictions, not environmental concerns.

Would Tillerson also be a hypocrite  if it was revealed that at one time he drank a glass of Kool-Aid, which is made with water? Is someone a hypocrite if they support building a well but oppose nuclear power plants, which also use water?

This is a non-story that's being trumped up because of misinformation. The only hypocrites are the ones who are spreading this myth and consider themselves above creationists, flat-earthers and carnival fools.

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