Legal Settlement Orders Children Never To Talk About Marcellus Shale In Their Lives. Really.
Two young children are forbidden from speaking about Marcellus Shale or fracking for the rest of their lives. The court action stems from a settlement in a high-profile Marcellus Shale lawsuit in western Pennsylvania.
The two children were 7 and 10 years old at the time the Hallowich family settled a nuisance case against driller Range Resources in August 2011. The parents, Chris and Stephanie, had been outspoken critics of fracking, saying the family became sick from the gas drilling activity surrounding their Washington County home. (They agreed to the gag order in order to get funds, in the settlement, necessary to move.)
Stephanie Hallowich told Washington County Common Pleas Court judge Paul Pozonsky that she agreed to the gag order in order to get enough funds to move out of the house. But she said she didn’t fully understand the lifelong gag order on her children.
We try not to be panic-stricken conspiracy theorists around here—and we doubt very seriously that, ultimately, courts will find that a parent can sign away their children’s First Amendment rights. But on the other hand, its remarkable that a company would try to get parents to sign away those rights, isn’t it? The whole thing is astonishing.