At the age of 10 and 7, two American children had their freedom of speech legally truncated. By an agreement made by their parents, Chris and Stephanie Hallowich, a Pennsylvania boy and girl apparently cannot talk about fracking, shale gas drilling, for the rest of their lives.
While the $750,000 settlement was made in 2011, the terms were just now made public after a request by the Pittsburg Post Gazette.
The agreement was made between the Hallowich’s and three oil and gas companies in charge of drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. The family, who lived near the drilling and were opposed to fracking, claimed the process harmed their family’s health. Apparently the parents did not want their kids gagged, but otherwise could not get a settlement.
While gag orders are common for adults in such agreements, how can they be forced down the throats of two young children?
Image adapted from “Young girl in Mauritania.jpg” by Ferdinand Reus from Arnhem, Holland. This image is under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. The original image is under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.