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USA big oil says "no free speech" [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-8-7 09:17:40 |Display all floors
The few obscenely rich individuals that own the USA - and the legal system of the USA - are now going after free
speech in a big way. They've already proven they have no problems with sending their mercenary USA military
across the world to kill as required to get cheap oil.
Now they are placing gag orders on children to try and protect their reputation.
What reputation? They murder for money. Why are they worried about their reputations?
I wonder what they will do if the kids start talking...

gag the children.jpg

The Hallowich family (photo: Pat Panchak/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
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Children Given Gag Order In Pennsylvania Fracking Suit Settlement
By Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff | Parenting – 5 hours ago

Two Pennsylvania children have been banned from talking about shale gas drilling, or fracking, for what appears to
be the rest of their lives by the terms of a legal settlement reached between their parents, Chris and Stephanie
Hallowich, and three oil and gas companies who lead drilling operations at the state’s Marcellus Shale.

Though the Hallowiches consented to the terms of the $750,000 settlement in 2011, the details, including the
familywide gag order, were made public just last week after a request by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette to unseal
telling court documents.

Nondisclosure agreements, or gag orders, are routine in many types of settlements—including those between citizens
and oil and gas companies involved in controversial fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which releases natural gas
for energy. Often, the orders ensure that the public doesn’t know how much money was paid in a settlement.

“In this case, I think it’s about more than money,” Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, told Yahoo!
Shine. Earthjustice, a public-interest environmental law organization, filed a brief in support of the Post
Gazette’s effort to unseal the Hallowich-case court documents. It has also compiled records showing that
nondisclosure agreements are the norm in settlements involving fracking. “It’s part of an industry campaign of
secrecy, in which companies do everything they can to prevent the public from knowing the connection between
what [fracking] does and how it’s harmful to both people’s health and the environment.”

Still, a gag order that applies to minors is relatively unheard of, say law experts.

“It’s unusual,” Peter Villari, attorney for the Hallowiches, told Yahoo! Shine. Jesse Choper, professor of public
law at the University of California, Berkeley, agreed. “It’s unusual that you’re binding little kids to a
nondisclosure agreement,” he said.

Jessie Allen, an assistant professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Post Gazette, “My reaction
is it’s kind of over the top.”

The Hallowiches, former anti-fracking activists, had been living on a 10-acre farm in Mount Pleasant when they
brought a lawsuit against Range Resources, Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream and MarkWest Energy. They
claimed that the adjacent Marcellus Shale operations damaged the health of their family, including their children,
then 7 and 10, by causing burning eyes, sore throats, headaches and earaches.

They also claimed operations contaminated their drinking water and rendered their property worthless. They had
purchased it in 2005, unknowingly inheriting a lease with Range Resources. Soon after the Hallowiches built their
house in 2007, gas wells, access roads, a gas-processing facility and compressor stations were constructed on
bordering properties, bringing with them noise, lights and emissions, according to reports.

The hearing transcript about the children’s gag order, ordered public by a judge along with the other court
records last week, shows the Hallowiches agreed to the restrictive terms of the settlement—which also included
the signing of a statement saying that the family’s health was not negatively affected by the drilling—in order
to be able to move on from the situation.

“We have agreed to this because we needed to get the children out of there for their health and safety,”
Stephanie said, according to the transcript. “My concern is they’re minors, I’m not quite sure I fully understand.
I know we’re signing for silence forever, but how is this taking away our children’s rights being minors now?”

The family’s attorney, Peter Villari, responded. “I have counseled both Chris and Stephanie, as drafted, the order
could be read to forever bar their two children from ever commenting on anything to do with fracking or Marcellus
Shale. I have counseled them that they are minors,” he said. “I, frankly…don’t know if that’s possible that you
can give up the First Amendment rights of a child. I don’t know.”

Villari’s firm “never encouraged the family to agree to it,” he told Yahoo! Shine. “I pushed them quite hard on
the issue, said it was unusual, and that we did not believe it was constitutional.” But he said he understood
the family’s decision, as the settlement was a “take it or leave it” offer, with the gag order attached. “They
had to make a difficult decision at that point in time,” he explained, adding that the Hallowiches were under
financial strain and needed the settlement money in order to move. “They made what they felt was the best decision
for their family.”

Also in the hearing, Chris Hallowich told the judge, “…If they, in turn, say one of the illegal words when they’re
outside of our guardianship, we’re going to have difficulty controlling that. We can inform them. We can tell them
they cannot say this, they cannot say that, but if on the playground…”

“So noted,” the court reporter replied.

James Swetz, attorney for Range Resources, could not be reached for comment.

Range Resources spokesperson Matt Pitzarella told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that he wasn’t certain the gag order
actually applied to the children—which Villari said was a “surprise” to him, because court documents clearly
indicate that it did. Pitzarella said, "All of the reports done at the time indicated no exposure [from the gas
development] and they never produced evidence of any health impacts. We did say that clearly the Hallowiches were
not in an ideal situation in terms of their lifestyle. They had an unusual amount of activity around them. We didn't
want them in that situation."
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If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2013-8-8 08:34:01 |Display all floors
Money does talk. I'm sure someone else will pick up the fight, especially if they could make money to keep their mouth shut!!!

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Post time 2013-8-8 08:53:41 |Display all floors
SDIvester Post time: 2013-8-7 16:34
Money does talk. I'm sure someone else will pick up the fight, especially if they could make money t ...

Yes, in the USA money is far more important than little details like free speech.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2013-8-8 20:07:22 |Display all floors
it won't hold up when they are no longer kids it will not be binding, end of story {:soso_e129:}

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Post time 2013-8-9 10:20:35 |Display all floors
gulfalco Post time: 2013-8-8 04:07
it won't hold up when they are no longer kids it will not be binding, end of story

By the time these kids are grown up the thieving capitalists who tried to deprive them of their free speech
rights will have been long gone.. having finished trampling on the rights of thousands more in the mean time.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2013-8-9 11:19:39 |Display all floors
robert237 Post time: 2013-8-9 10:20
By the time these kids are grown up the thieving capitalists who tried to deprive them of their fr ...

We are not clear how the courts will interpret this agreement.

This is an agreement signed by two parties.

The big oil and the family.

Obviously children are minor and minors entering into any agreement is null and void.
I've made my living, Mr. Thompson, in large part as a gambler. Some days I make twenty bets, some days I make none. There are weeks, sometimes months, in fact, when I don't make any bet at all because ...

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Post time 2013-8-9 11:24:56 |Display all floors
Actually agreements against public policy are also null and void.

This agreement can be easily challenged in court......except for the fact the parents already pocketed the money ............are they ready to return the money?

So....this agreement will have to be challenged by a third party.....an environmentalist group.

I think environment NGOs will take this up.
I've made my living, Mr. Thompson, in large part as a gambler. Some days I make twenty bets, some days I make none. There are weeks, sometimes months, in fact, when I don't make any bet at all because ...

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