Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No Easy Way Out

It has now been over seven months since me and my family moved from DISH, TX. Since that time it has become more and more apparent that we made the right choice to move. Since moving from DISH, my children have not experienced the periodic nosebleeds that they had while living there, and we have been able to enjoy being outside at our home without the noxious odors. It is amazing how you miss things like opening your windows on a nice day to let a breeze blow through your home. This has taken a tremendous burden off of the entire family. Being that moving was such a difficult decision; it brings us peace with the decision we made. Looking back, we were blessed that we got out of that situation in the manner that we did. I think it is difficult for those who have never been in this situation to understand exactly how difficult that decision was to make. However in hindsight, it is apparent that we were the lucky ones.

Traveling around and talking to various people, I have found that there are many others in the same position that we found ourselves in; however, getting out for most is not as easy. There are many people who are struggling with the decision on whether they should stay in their homes or move away. However, sometimes that decision can have multiple consequences. Once someone is put in this situation, selling their home, even at a massive loss can be difficult if not impossible. So foreclosure is the only option available for some folks to get out of the situation that they have put in, which in many cases is through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, foreclosure is not the end of it, because after that, your credit will be ruined and all the money invested will be lost, not to mention being able to find another place to live.

I am unsure how a situation like this can occur in America, but it has on numerous occasions and keeps repeating itself. There has been so many who has lost everything because of this situation. These are honest hardworking, taxpaying Americans who have worked hard and saved to buy a home, and spent their life savings on the home of their dreams, only to see that dream be taken away by an energy company that could not care less about the impacts they are making on someone’s life. They are forced to deal with exposure to hazardous chemicals, tainted water, and noxious odors that prevent them from peaceful enjoying the home of their dreams and threaten their children’s health. They are faced with decisions that an American should not have to be faced with.

We were also fortunate that we lived close enough to the edge of the Barnett Shale, that we could move off of the shale without needing to switch jobs, and maintain key relationships. Many are not in a similar position, for them to move off of their prospective shale, or other formation, they would need to move several hundred miles away to escape. So you are then left to wonder where exactly you could move to get out of your situation, and what you may do when you get there. Scenarios such as this prevent families from leaving a bad situation. Therefore, they continue to live in a home, where the air or water may be tainted because there is simply no good option to move elsewhere.

The stories that I hear over and over again and again, seem to get worse and worse. Every time I hear one of these stories, I tell myself that this is as bad as it can possible get; only to hear one that is worse. I am grown man that has stood toe to toe with very powerful politicians and a very powerful industry, but these stories break me. I look at small the small children at these homes, and wonder about their future, how will their lives be impacted by all of this, and think about my own children, who we tried to buffer from all this. I thought we had been successful, until I recently heard my son talking about us moving because of the “stinky compressor station”. His life has certainly been altered because of this as well.

This is an aspect of this subject that is not discussed often enough, and the number of people who are affected in this manner continues to grow. There are so many that are wanting out of their current situation, and have no viable options to make that happen. Therefore, they are stuck in a situation that perhaps is negatively affecting their health and or the health of their children. To those of you out there in this position, I hear your voice and only wish I could do more to help you.