MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa. – The 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter of Chris and Stephanie Hallowich underwent minor surgery yesterday in which small microchips were inserted under the skin to allow representatives of gas companies to monitor the children. The procedure was necessary to make sure the children abide by a court settlement which calls for them to refrain from speaking about the practice known as fracking for the remainder of their lives.
“We felt this was the best way to ensure compliance with the settlement,” explained James Swetz, a lawyer representing Range Resources Corp. “It’s not enough for the parents to ask them if they talked about fracking at school that day. Kids lie. This way we’ll know.”
Earlier this month, three gas companies – Range Resources Corp., Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream, and Markwest Energy – agreed to give the Hallowich family $750,000 to settle a complaint regarding health and environmental damages caused by a natural gas drilling operation near the family’s home in Mount Pleasant, PA. As part of the settlement, the parents and children have all been banned from ever speaking about fracking, or the health and environmental issues related to the practice.
Lawyers for the three companies became concerned, however, when Chris Hallowich remarked on the transcript that it would be difficult to make sure his children don’t ‘say one of the illegal words’ out on the playground. Their concern led to implantation of the microchips within the children.
The 7-year-old daughter reportedly cried when wheeled into the operating room, promising to ‘be a good girl’ and ‘not tell anyone about the awful poison in the ground.’ Stephanie Hallowich reportedly kept a brave face for her daughter, telling her she ‘wouldn’t feel a thing’ and that with the computer chip inside of her she’d be ‘just like Wall-E.’
A representative of Markwest Energy confirmed that the three companies would share the cost of hiring a team of qualified professionals to maintain a 24-hour audio surveillance on the two children, adding that while the job may seem boring now, he imagined it would garner a lot of interest when the two children reached puberty.