Texas Fracker Accused of Bully Tactics Against Foes by Mark Drajem, February 18, 2013, Bloomberg
When a Texas landowner took his fear that a gas driller had poisoned his well to federal regulators, the company, Range Resources Corp., turned around and sued him for conspiring “to harm Range.” In Pennsylvania, a state lawmaker who criticized the company was dubbed “completely unhinged” by a Range representative and had his fundraising e-mails to its executives leaked to the local newspaper.
Critics say the Fort Worth-based company, which pioneered the use of hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale, has taken a hard line with residents, local officials and activists. In one case it threatened a former EPA official with legal action; in another it stopped participating in town hearings to review its own applications to drill, because local officials were asking too many questions and taking too long. “Range Resources is different from its peers in that it chooses to severely punish its critics,” said Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of Dish, Texas, and an activist who has been subpoenaed and issued legal warnings by Range. “Most companies avoid the perception of the big-bad-bully oil company, while Range Resources embraces it.” …
While the case is still being fought in court, Lipsky stands by his charge of Range’s culpability: “It’s ludicrous,” he said, referring to the case. “They’re ruthless.”
In December 2010 the EPA determined that Range’s gas drilling near Lipsky’s home had caused “extremely high levels” of methane, which can be explosive, and benzene, a carcinogen, in his water. Fifteen months later, the EPA dropped the matter after the company agreed to test 30 local water wells and turn over relevant testing data to the agency. [Emphasis added]