Pennsylvania communities sue frackers for toxic pollution

Alan Septoff's avatar
By Alan Septoff

November 23, 2009

Propublica's Abrahm Lustgarten reports  that Pennsylvania residents are suing Cabot Oil and Gas -- the company responsible for multiple spills associated with their Marcellus Shale drilling near Dimock, PA.  They seek to stop future drilling and to establish a trust fund to cover medical expenses for those harmed by Cabot's operations.

This is the second Pennsylvania lawsuit against a Marcellus Shale driller (that we know of).  The first is in the southeast region of the state near Washington.  In it a local landowner alleges that Atlas Energy is responsible for the pollution of his groundwater with seven potentially carcinogenic chemicals above EPA screening levels.

These lawsuits are significant.  They have the potential to legally establish a direct chain of responsibility between frackers and groundwater pollution.  And, through the discovery process, they have the potential to reveal more about the operations of hydraulic fracturing companies and how those operations threaten (or don't) nearby communities.

One thing we know for sure:  current regulation is inadequate to the task of protection communities, their groundwater, and the environment from hydraulic fracturing.

That's why we need the FRAC Act and stronger state regulations that address other aspects of the drilling process (e.g. landowner protection laws passed in New Mexico and Colorado).  If you agree, please send a letter to your members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor the FRAC Act.

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Tagged with: reuters, propublica, pennsylvania, marcellus shale, cabot oil and gas, atlas energy

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