MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) – A Texas family is to receive $3 million from an oil and gas company as compensation for health issues caused by fracking, United Press International reported Thursday.
A Dallas court ordered Aruba Petroleum to pay damages to two parents and their young daughter, who claim to have been experiencing headaches, rashes, dizziness, nausea, and chronic nose bleeds after the company began an operation near their ranch in 2009, according to UPI.
Within 5 years of beginning its operations, Aruba has drilled 20 wells located some two miles from the family’s ranch. Robert and Lisa Parr said the fracking also affected their livestock and lowered the value of their land.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has recently gained wide global attention as a method of oil and gas extraction. Its benefits are controversial, since the process involves injecting liquids with carcinogenic chemicals into rock formations to release gas. The chemicals stay in the ground and can pollute soil and groundwater.
Proximity to fracking wells may result in cancer, infertility and birth defects, according to studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and Environmental Health Perspectives.
France banned fracking in 2011 due to ecological concerns.
Fracking came into the spotlight in Europe this year amid the escalation of the political crisis in Ukraine. After Crimea reunited with Russia last month, and the latter increased gas prices for its southwestern neighbor by 80 percent, European leaders threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with cutting their oil and gas purchases from local companies and looking for alternative sources.
Ukraine had been purchasing Russian gas at a discount until March, but is now considering other suppliers. It has signed agreements with American oil giants Chevron and Shale worth $20 million and started exploring its own shale gas reserves.
Russia has the largest shale oil reserves in the world – more than 20 percent of the global total, according to official data of the US Energy Information Administration. It ranks ninth in shale gas resources, giving way to China and the US, among other countries. Russia supplies a third of all natural gas used in Europe and has only used fracking for oil extraction.