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February 28, 2014

Former exec rips Exxon Mobil CEO's lawsuit

Since joining the movement against the controversial gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking, retired Mobil Corp executive Lou Allstadt has been anything but a shrinking violet when it comes to challenging industry’s assertions that shale gas can be extracted without serious risks to water supplies and the environment.

But the Cooperstown resident had not taken any direct swipes at his old company — which has since become Exxon Mobil, the largest corporation on the planet — or anyone connected to it.

That changed this week after news report that Exxon Mobil’s chief executive officer, Rex Tillerson, and several of his neighbors in Bartonville, Tex., filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block construction of a 160-foot water tower that he and the other critics charged could encourage the town to sell water to gas and oil drillers.

“It’s the height of hypocrisy,” said Allstadt, executive vice president of Mobil Oil before it merged with Exxon. Over 31 years spent with the company, he ran its marketing and refining in Japan and managed its worldwide supply, trading and transportation operations.

As for Tillerson, he said, “The irony is that his company is causing many people to have the same concerns that he has now by bringing this lawsuit.”

The anti-fracking movement has had a field day with the Tillerson story, training a spotlight on the irony that the head of a corporation that is the world’s largest gas producer would try to hinder a project that could aid drilling operations but decrease the value of his personal property.

To Allstadt, who retired from Mobil in 2000, the concerns voiced in the lawsuit by Tillerson and his Texas neighbors echoed the reactions in Otsego, Chenango and Schoharie county communities where citizens have pressed for local prohibitions on shale gas drilling.

“His comments in his lawsuit are very similar to the comments that I and others were making here in trying to get fracking bans passed,” Allstadt told The Daily Star.

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