Barnett Shale couple wins $2.9 million compensation for environmental damage

Fracking Site in Warren Center PA
Fracking Site in Warren Center PA, Source: Wikicommons, Author: Ostroff Law

A couple from Texas, who sued Aruba Petroleum claiming that its gas exploration activities caused them to fall ill, has been awarded $2.9 million compensation in a landmark case.

Bob and Lisa Parr filed a lawsuit in 2011, seeking a 9 million payoff and claiming that Aruba’s drilling activities forced them to move from their property in Wise County, Texas. In a 5-1 verdict, the jury recognized that the Parrs “have experienced almost continual sickness, annoyance, discomfort and inconvenience” because of the operations.

“The facts of the case and the law as applied to those facts do not support the verdict,” Aruba said in a prepared release. “Natural gas development has long been prevalent in Wise County with hundreds of wells drilled and currently operated by dozens of companies. Aruba is just one of those operators.”

Aruba spokesman Fred Stern said that the company “has a number of arguments to be made in the trial court for why a judgment should be entered in its favor” and that talk of an appeal is “premature.”

Aruba has been cited for a number of issues with its wells in Wise County. In 2011, it paid a $35,500 fine to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for emissions violations. The commission took air samples and found “elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds,” resulting in violations on six occasions at three wells.

The Parr’s case is one of only a few that went to trial, with many similar cases being dismissed or settled out of court.


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