Open Letter to the CEO of ExxonMobil: Can you manage the risks of fracking?

by S. Tom Bond on July 23, 2012

EXXON CEO Tillerson

Rex W. Tillerson, CEO

ExxonMobil Corporation

5959 Las Colinas Boulevard

Irving, Texas 75039-2298

Dear Mr. Tillerson,

You have attracted a lot of attention with a statement, quoted in an article by Jonathan Fahey, “The industry’s biggest challenge, he said, is ‘taking an illiterate public and try to help them understand why we can manage these risks.’”

I suppose a man in your position is surrounded in daily life by sycophants. Perhaps he is also accustomed to making reality by the method which Genesis says God created the world: He simply spoke and it was.

Reality is much tougher for humans. No one speaks and brings material things into existence. In fact, your statement belies the hundreds of well-educated folks who do not support shale drilling in its present form, and actively point out its failures. I doubt if you have time to read much of the literature of complaint.

It is not that people object to getting energy, it is the “collateral damage,” ranging from health effects, destroyed aquifers and depreciated production of surface assets to reduced property values, the way people are treated and esthetic values.

Some people who work for the industry don’t like it either – it is the money that motivates them. They know what will be left behind is not as desirable for people who will inhabit the drilled areas afterward.

When the population was low and we lived on organic resources, they were abundant and disposal was no problem – microbes took care of it. Once we began to use exhaustible resources, about the time of the first cities, we became like the inoculant in a petri plate.
Our seven billion, within one lifetime to become nine billion, demands we rethink our paradigm for living and preserve the productive capacity of the surface of the earth. My personal view of the shale drilling “gold rush” is that it was a technology developed by a government agency, subsidized in one first attempt by taxpayers.

The claims of a few experts concerning the amount of gas available, and the success of Mitchell Energy, excited a few buccaneers who jumped in on a large scale. There was never a proper “scaling up,” with scientific study of the consequences. It went from a underfunded gamble to billions of investment over thousands of square miles like an explosion, without a body of knowledge to support or channel it. Thus the problem we talk about.

The facts about Shale drilling are on the ground, as they say. Where ever shale drilling goes the same complaints occur. The people who complain are the most diverse and totally disconnected set of humanity you could imagine – surface owners, farmers, rural dwellers with probably more than one hundred occupations, teachers, students, hunters and fishermen, retirees. Some, like Mat Pitzerella, fancy there is some organization fomenting insurrection.

Not so. There are two hundred or more internet sites, and a dozen or more in other countries, especially Canada, which oppose shale drilling exclusively or in part. All these people respect the place where they live, and see what is going on. The pictures are very convincing to someone with an open mind, but it is a trip to see and talk to people where the drilling is going on that is the real cincher. The opposition is growing as more drilling is done.

Mr. Tillerson, you (the industry) have yet to prove you can “manage the risks.” All we see is bluster, force, bribery and public relations at the top. At the bottom we see guile, callous indifference and careless performance. In the end, perhaps Mr. Pitzerella may not be far wrong. What he sees is prompted by an invading army. It is not an organized effort but a reaction.

Sincerely, S. Thomas Bond, Farmer, Citizen, Lewis County, WV

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sally Williamson July 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

It’s wonderful as your other posts : S, appreciate it for posting . “To be able to look back upon ones life in satisfaction, is to live twice.” by Kahlil Gibran.


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