Children given lifelong ban on talking about fracking
2013-08-07 0:00

By Suzanne Goldenberg | The Guardian

Two young children in Pennsylvania were banned from talking about fracking for the rest of their lives under a gag order imposed under a settlement reached by their parents with a leading oil and gas company.

The sweeping gag order was imposed under a $750,000 settlement between the Hallowich family and Range Resources Corp, a leading oil and gas driller. It provoked outrage on Monday among environmental campaigners and free speech advocates.

The settlement, reached in 2011 but unsealed only last week, barred the Hallowichs’ son and daughter, who were then aged 10 and seven, from ever discussing fracking or the Marcellus Shale, a leading producer in America’s shale gas boom.

The Hallowich family had earlier accused oil and gas companies of destroying their 10-acre farm in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania and putting their children’s health in danger. Their property was adjacent to major industrial operations: four gas wells, gas compressor stations, and a waste water pond, which the Hallowich family said contaminated their water supply and caused burning eyes, sore throats and headaches.

Gag orders – on adults – are typical in settlements reached between oil and gas operators and residents in the heart of shale gas boom in Pennsylvania. But the company lawyer’s insistence on extending the lifetime gag order to the Hallowichs’ children gave even the judge pause, according to the court documents.

The family gag order was a condition of the settlement. The couple told the court they agreed because they wanted to move to a new home away from the gas fields, and to raise their children in a safer environment. "We need to get the children out of there for their health and safety," the children’s mother, Stephanie Hallowich, told the court.

She was still troubled by the gag order, however. "My concern is that they’re minors. I’m not quite sure I fully understand. We know we’re signing for silence for ever but how is this taking away our children’s rights being minors now? I mean my daughter is turning seven today, my son is 10."

The children’s father, Chris Hallowich, went on to tell the court it might be difficult to ensure the children’s absolute silence on fracking – given that their ages and that the family lives in the middle of a shale gas boom.

"They’re going to be among other children that are children of people within this industry and they’re going to be around it every day of their life, that if they in turn say one of the illegal words when they’re outside of our guardianship we’re going to have difficulty controlling that," he said. "We can tell them, they can not say this, they can not say that, but if on the playground....."

The court transcripts were released in response to an open records request by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, which first reported on the children’s lifetime gag order. The newspaper has been fighting for the release of all documents in the Hallowich settlement.

Campaigners say the secrecy has helped the industry resist more stringent environmental and health controls – by burying evidence of water contamination and health problems associated with natural gas operations. The Hallowichs’ lawyer, Peter Villari, told the court he had never seen a gag order imposed on children in his 30 years of practicing law, according to the released transcript.

[...]

Read the full article at: theguardian.com




Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Ian Crane - Hour 1 - Fracking & The Globalists’ Financial War

Ian Crane - BP Oil Spill, Corexit, Solar Storms & The Bigger Picture

Ian Crane - The Deepwater Horizon Rig Explosion & The BP Oil Spill

John Perkins - An Economic Hitman on Predatory Capitalism & Corporate Monopoly





Related Articles
Revealed: EPA Fracking Study Rebukes Agency’s Own Safety Claims
Confirmed: Fracking Triggers Quakes and Seismic Chaos
Fracking Puts Squeeze on Drought-Striken Farmers
Can a Small Community Throw a Monkey Wrench into the Global Fracking Machine?
EPA Study: Ground Water Contamination “Consistent With" Fracking
Monsanto Protection Act Proves Corporations More Powerful Than US Government
Federal Agencies, Corporations, Police Create the Many Faces of Big Brother
The New Totalitarianism: How American Corporations Have Made America Like the Soviet Union


Latest News from our Front Page

Virginia TV Shooter Said, "Jehovah Spoke To Me That I Should Take Action"
2015-08-28 2:36
What causes a guy to go off the plantation enough so that he would murder in cold blood, two of his former colleagues? Guesses are abounding, such as racial tension, mental illness, psychotropic prescription drugs, narcissism, etc. What about the angle of how a destructive religious cult shaped him in his formative years, so that later in life, he would ...
Invasion into Macedonia from Greece - Border Mayhem
2015-08-28 2:06
Description from video page: These are the desperate scenes at Greece’s border with FYR Macedonia as overwhelmed security forces made sporadic attempts to stem the flow of invaders heading northwards. Riot police set off stun grenades and hit invaders with batons but that did little to stop them passing into FYR Macedonia. Skopje had declared a state of emergency on Thursday (August ...
RamZPaul: TV Reporter Murdered Live On Air
2015-08-28 1:48
Youtube description: The gunman responsible for the live on air shooting of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward said part of his motivation for the attack was Parker making “racist comments.” infowars.com Vid that killer made: (note the actual shooting vid is being censored fast) https://youtu.be/v_AhFxhznPI Jesse Benn advocating "White Wounding: just weeks ago:huffingtonpost.com Source: youtube.com
White House Pushes Race War, Then Blames Guns For Flanagan's "Race War"
2015-08-27 5:04
"You want a race war (expletive)?" Asked shooter The Obama administration is blaming guns for the WBDJ-TV shooting, even though the shooter, Vester Flanagan, was influenced by the White House’s race baiting. The White House has been falsely insinuating that racism is the dominant factor behind numerous events over the past several years, even those that didn’t involve race at all, and ...
How Google Destroyed the Internet
2015-08-27 5:12
The internet was created to resolve a simple problem: in communications networks, any central node through which all messages passed was vulnerable to attack or takeover. To counter this, engineers designed a network where any node would pass messages to other nodes, routing around any damage. Then came commerce and the democratization of the internet. Under this model, frightened sheep flock to ...
More News »