We Kid You Not: Seven-year-old banned from mentioning 'fracking'

United States: Seven-year-old banned from mentioning 'fracking' ― ever

“When a property owner reaches a settlement with an oil or gas driller, it's not unusual for the company to demand that the plaintiffs in the case agree to a gag order that bars them from talking about the agreement. But a recent case in Pennsylvania is unusual.

“That's because the gag order prohibited the 7- and 10-year-old children of a couple that sued several gas companies not only from talking about their specific settlement, but from mentioning fracking at all. Ever …

“Chris and Stephanie Hallowich reached a $750,000 settlement with Range Resources Corporation, Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream, and Markwest Energy related to health and environmental impacts they say they suffered due to natural gas development operations near their farm in Mount Pleasant, Pa.

“The family used the money to relocate. But in exchange, they had to agree that they could not comment 'in any fashion whatsoever about Marcellus Shale/fracking activities.'

“The transcript of an August 2011 court hearing indicates that the agreement is also meant to apply to the couple's two children … 'I guess our position is it does apply to the whole family,' said James Swetz, the lawyer representing Range Resources in the hearing. 'We would certainly enforce it.'”

-- MotherJones.com, August 2.

Four out of five US adults face poverty

“Four out of five US adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

“Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend …

“The gauge defines 'economic insecurity' as experiencing unemployment at some point in their working lives, or a year or more of reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.”

-- Associated Press, July 28.

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