The recent news about Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s participation in a lawsuit against the construction of a large water tower near his home and ranch in Texas was extraordinarily symbolic, and could help combat the rhetoric being thrown at opponents of fracking, who are often cast away by industry as being unreasonable “NIMBY’s”: Not In My Back Yard.
The 16-story tower would – among other uses – provide water for fracking operations in the area. It would be a large, unsightly industrial installation, similar in some respects to the thousands of 16 story high Exxon-commissioned drill rigs and heavy machinery towering above neighborhoods and ranches throughout the country. The difference is that the proposed water tank would sit quietly nearby in years to come – a stark contrast to noisy fracking sites that emit hazardous air pollution and sometimes contaminate drinking water.
A broken Exxon pipeline spilled more than 12,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil and water en route to the Gulf Coast on Friday, March 29. The spill ran through the neighborhoods of Mayflower, Arkansas, just north of Little Rock, and into nearby wetlands and rivers.
We know pipelines break.
This week s Exxon pipeline leak of 42,000 gallons of oil into Montana s famed Yellowstone River demonstrates just how quickly inadequate regulations translate into real harm to western waters, and the communities and businesses that rely on them.
The Environmental Protection Agency is currently taking public comments on new guidelines that will determine which western waterways are considered waters of the U.S. and therefore protected under the Clean Water Act.
Some recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have muddied the water, and these guidance documents will go a long way towards clarifying this important issue.
The EPA estimates that more than 117 million Americans get their drinking water from public supplies fed in whole or in part by intermittent or ephemeral streams vulnerable to pollution thanks to current confusion.
Exxon, America's biggest oil company, is planning on merging with XTO, a $25 billion oil and gas drilling company heavily invested in hydraulic fracturing of shale gas deposits.
Whether or not you think that's a good thing, it's causing a bit of furor in part because Exxon has included some language pertaining to fracking's regulatory landscape.