Fracking/Gagging the Kids
by Abby Zimet
How far will the fracking industry go to defend their recurring, straight-faced claim that fracking is safe? This far: When they settled a Marcellus Shale case with Chris and Stephanie Hallowich, a Pennsylvania couple who saw their home, water and children's health ruined, the family had to agree to a lifetime gag order - not just the parents, but the kids, ages 7 and 10, who were bound not to use "illegal words." Like, maybe, profit-seeking scumbags? In such a way does the industry maintain the cycle of silence and denial about the destruction wrought by fracking: Congressional testimony continues to show there are no health hazards posed by fracking, because there are no documented cases, because everyone whose health was damaged has been gagged. At least till now. With some PR blowback from the recently released transcript of the settlement, the Range Resources Corporation is now saying their agreement may not apply to the kids, dubbed junior insurgents by some. But the couple's lawyer says - gasp - he doesn't trust them.