First fracking trial begins in Dallas - Dallas News |

First fracking trial begins in Dallas

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The first fracking trial in the U.S. is taking place in downtown Dallas.

It involves a lawsuit filed by a North Texas family living on the Barnett Shale, and this first of its kind case is being watched closely around the country.

Robert Parr took the stand Wednesday, making history in a downtown Dallas courtroom. He described the home he built 15 miles west of Denton –- the home that he once called sacred ground. Now, he says it's an unholy mess.

"We can't drink our well water," said Parr in 2011 when FOX 4 interviewed him. "We can't breathe the air without getting sick."

The Parrs say fracking made them sick. In their lawsuit, they blame the more than 50 natural gas wells that appeared without warning in 2008, which were in within a two-mile radius of their property.

"When all the gas drilling started around our home, we started to experience health effects," said Lisa Parr.

Lisa says she made several trips to doctors' offices and emergency rooms for up to two dozen unexplained symptoms while living in their home -- everything from rashes to nausea and exhaustion.

She says Bob and their 7-year-old daughter Emma also suffered severe nosebleeds.

"There were some mornings she would wake up about 6 o'clock in the morning, covered in blood, screaming, crying," said Lisa.

Robert testified the family finally went to an environmental doctor, who confirmed the presence of several neurotoxins in their blood, matching chemicals used in natural gas production.

"My doctor told me, and I quote, ‘You'll spend more time and money on hospitals, chemotherapy and morticians if you remain in your home,'" said Lisa.

The Parrs sued several companies. Most of the nine defendants have settled, but the remaining defendant is Plano-based Aruba Petroleum.

The company issued a statement reading, "The trial is in it's initial stages. As it progresses, we will have the opportunity to fully present our case to the jury. Based on the facts, of the case and the law...we are confident of a positive outcome for our company."

The trial could take up to two weeks.

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