Fracking company puts lifetime gag order on children speaking
I absolutely detest non-disclosure agreements, especially when used to give cover to companies that have done harm. I really detest them when police departments and cities engage in them, to cover up police brutality and wrongful shootings. Wrongful acts by public servants should definitely be a public record, but too many times they are not.
But can parents sign away the rights of minor children to comment on fracking or on the Marcellus Shale region, because of a settlement agreement their parents signed? Well, one natural gas fracking company seems to believe so. Hallowich family signed a non-disclosure agreement with Range Resources, a company involved in natural gas fracking. Well the agreement bars, for a lifetime, the minor children of this family, along with their parents, from ever commenting on natural gas fracking again. Ever.
Indeed, a lawyer for Range Resources stated, "I guess our position is it does apply to the whole family. We would certainly enforce it." After the rightful horrible publicity of this case, the CEO of the company has stated that this gag order does not apply to the minor children for the rest of their lives. Well, someone tell one of his chief lawyers that. One of them is not telling the truth.
Of course, minor children can't be beholden to contracts their parents signed. A 10 year old isn't any more responsible for the contract their parents signed, as they are responsible for the crimes their parents might have committed. Any such contract on its' face cannot be enforced.
But, these gag orders are part of a larger trend by fracking companies to gag those whose water may have been polluted as the result of fracking. Indeed, in these agreements individuals have been barred from testifying before governmental bodies, even if they have been subpoenaed. So when fracking companies state there haven't been any documented or proven cases of people getting sick from fracking, it is hard to know, because they have shut up all potential witnesses against them.
In the meantime you can petition the Bureau of Land Management to toughen up fracking rules on public land. We should know all the chemicals being put in out waterways by fracking companies. Indeed there is a law that allows doctors to be told what is in fracking chemicals but bar them from telling their patients. That is just awful, and it should not be tolerated.