As someone living in Austin, one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, I hear a lot of stories of NIMBYism. For the unfamiliar, that acronym stands for “Not In My Backyard.” It usually refers to older neighborhoods that loathe a heavy influx of new neighbors (or less affluent and more diverse neighbors), decry density or oppose any major changes to the look and feel of a neighborhood. These feelings have been prevalent in Austin since…well, since anyone can remember, perhaps 1835?
We rarely hear such complaints arise from rural “neighbors,” but trust me this story is worth the build up. EXXON CEO Rex Tillerson, the world’s largest oil and gas company is now suing to prevent fracking near his own mansion in Bartonville, Texas.
This is after he defended the practice against protests by homeowners saying that, “Because we have technology that is built on science, built on engineering, and because we have a society that by and large is illiterate in these areas: science, math and engineering — what we do is a mystery to them. And they find it scary.”
Now apparently Rex himself is afraid of a little noise, traffic and what an unsightly fracking water tower might do to, “devalue their properties and adversely impact the rural lifestyle they sought to enjoy.”
***insert crying emoji***
Tillerson and EXXON, and the Texas legislature, have spent years fighting to minimize regulations on fracking and claiming that there are negligible impacts on water, and inconclusive evidence that they cause earthquakes. Industry along with the GOP even passed a bill that overrode local governments that tried to ban fracking in their communities. Whomp Whomp.
According to a report by Chris Hayes on MSNBC Tillerson was compensated over $40 million in 2012 alone while Exxon became the largest natural gas producer in the world.
The lead plaintiff in the suit with Tillerson is none other than Dick Armey, the former Republican US House Majority Leader. The suit says that they simply want to live, “in an upscale community free of industrial properties, tall buildings, and other structures that might devalue their properties and adversely impact the rural lifestyle they sought to enjoy.”
In the short video profile Hayes concludes, “Rex Tillerson is leading the fracking revolution, just not in his backyard.”