Hydraulic Fracturing | Fracking
Hydraulic Fracturing - Fracking Contamination Lawsuits
Hydraulic Fracturing | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Natural Gas, Drilling, Water Contamination
Fracking Report 2011
Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Shale Gas Subcommittee
August 3, 2011:
A report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette states that in 1987 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had concluded that hydraulic fracturing of a deep natural gas well in Jackson County, W. Virginia, contaminated groundwater and private wells. The official EPA report entitled "Cracks in the Facade" is available for review.
July 22, 2011:
A report in the NY Post regarding a new hydraulic fracturing study prepared by Penn State University and sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition is being considered by Gov. Cuomo. The study glosses over the potential harmful environmental impact that hydrofracking may have to residents in the area and instead provides statistics regarding the amount of new jobs, potential revenue and the Marcellus Shale natural-gas field potential to supply 25 percent of the nation's gas needs.
Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) for gas drilling is going on, such as Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale, or the Barnett shale in Texas and other states. Has your underground drinking water become contaminated due to methane gas migration or fracking fluid spills? If so, you are one of the latest victims of this poorly regulated industry.
Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Texas are just some of the states where hydraulic fracturing has been linked to contaminated water and illnesses. The personal injury law firm of Parker, Waichman, LLP is already representing families who have been damaged by fracking. If you have been victimized by the hydraulic fracturing industry, we can help.
The hydraulic fracturing lawyers at Parker, Waichman, Alonsio LLP are offering free lawsuit consultations to anyone whose health and property has been damaged by fracking. We urge you to contact us today to protect your legal rights.
Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) - What is it?
Fracking is currently used in 90 percent of the nation's natural gas and oil wells. The practice makes drilling possible in areas that 10 to 20 years ago would not have been profitable. Hydraulic Fracturing involves injecting water, sand, and a cocktail of chemicals at high pressure into rock formations thousands of feet below the surface. This opens existing fractures in the rock and allows gas to rise through the wells.
Many of the chemicals used in shale gas drilling, such as benzene, are hazardous to humans and animals. Long-term exposure to such chemicals can have serious health consequences. The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, shale gas drillers don't have to disclose the mix of chemicals they use in shale gas drilling.
Despite their attempts to keep the make-up of fracking fluids secret, we do know something about what they contain. A recent study conducted by Theo Colburn, PhD, the director of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange in Paonia, Colorado, has so far identified 65 chemicals that are probable components of the injection fluids used by shale gas drillers. These chemicals included benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol, and nonylphenols. All of these chemicals have been linked to health disorders when human exposure is too high.
Communities Damaged by Fracking
People living in the vicinity of shale gas drilling have reported foul smells in their tap water. In some instances gas well pipes have broken, resulting in leakage of contaminants into the surrounding ground.
One small town in Pennsylvania called Dimock, for example, has been devastated by fracking. Cabot Oil & Gas drilled dozens of wells in Dimock. Sadly, problems with the cement casing on 20 of those wells caused contamination of local water wells, driving down property values and causing sickness. In some cases, levels of methane in some Dimock water wells are so high that homeowners are able to set water aflame as it comes out of their taps.
In April 2010, state environmental regulators fined Cabot $240,000, and ordered it to permanently shut three wells and install water-treatment systems in 14 homes within 30 days or face a $30,000 a month fine. Cabot's more than two-dozen pending drilling applications were also put on hold.
The violations seen in Dimock are not uncommon in Pennsylvania. A 2010 report issued by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association found that the state has identified 1,435 violations by 43 Marcellus Shale drilling companies since January 2008. Of those, 952 were identified as having or likely to have an impact on the environment.
Texas' Barnett shale region is another area where fracking is booming. In August 2010, an air sampling in the Texas town of DISH by Wolf Eagle Environmental “confirmed the presence in high concentrations of carcinogenic and neurotoxin compounds in ambient air near and/or on residential properties.” In June 2010, tests by the Texas Railroad Commission showed arsenic, barium, chromium, lead and selenium in a residential water well in DISH. The tainted water turned up at a home in DISH shortly after a nearby gas well was drilled.
Results of air testing by the commission released the same month detected benzene concentration, 37 parts per billion, at a Devon Energy complex on Jim Baker Road between the towns of Justin and DISH. The highest benzene reading overall, 95 ppb, was detected at a Stallion Oilfield Services commercial disposal well in Parker County. All six facilities that state inspectors revisited are within about 1,000 feet from people’s homes.
Earlier this decade, the Canadian drilling company EnCana began ramping up gas development in the Pavillion/Muddy Ridge field of Wyoming. In the summer of 2010, the majority of Pavillion residents who participated in a health survey reported respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, itchy skin, dizziness and other ailments. According to the Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, many residents also reported that their well water was tainted by fracking. Various ailments that residents reported are associated with contaminants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified in Pavillion well water, Earthworks said.
Such reports don't even begin to tell the whole story of the damage fracking has done to communities and the environment across the country. Parker Waichman LLP is trying to get the word out, and our hydraulic fracturing lawyers are working with our clients to hold drillers and others involved in this industry accountable for the devastation fracking has caused.
Legal Help for Victims of Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing is destroying the environment and threatening the health of thousands of people. If you and your family have become fracking victims, you have valuable legal rights. Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) today to schedule a free consultation with one of our hydraulic fracturing lawyers.
Hydraulic Fracturing Timeline
1947: Hydrofracking is introduced for the first time. In Kansas, The Stanolind Oil Company facilitates oil production by injecting acid and oil into a well.
Late 1990s: Modern methods of hydrofracking are used in the Texas Barnett Shale; horizontal drilling is implemented and millions of gallons fluid is used to extract natural resources.
2003: Range Resources drills a well in the Marcellus Shale in Washington County Pennylvannia; a significant amount of natural gas flow is discovered.
2005: Range Resources begins gas production in the Marcellus Shale.
2006: Interest in the Marcellus Shale region begins to rise, as speculators start leasing land for as much as $100 per acre.
2007: According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 60 wells have been drilled and 122 permits were issued in the Marcellus Shale.
Jun. 2010: The documentary GasLand brings attention to the health and environmental issues that come alongside natural gas drilling. Filmmaker Josh Fox consistently documents contaminated water in areas located near drill sites; the film even shows homeowners being able to set alight their drinking water.
Sept. 14, 2010: Parker Waichman LLP helps file a lawsuit on behalf of 13 families in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania who allege that their drinking wells have been polluted as a result of drilling and hydraulic fracturing activities; defendants include Southwest Energy Production Company and parent company Southwestern Energy. Parker Waichman’s partner firms include The Law Office of Michael Gleeson; Neblett, Beard & Arsenault; and the Becnel Law Firm, LLC.
Oct. 29, 2010: Parker Waichman LLP files a lawsuit on behalf of Judy Armstrong against Chesapeake Appalachia, LLP, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and Nomac Drilling LLC. Ms. Armstrong is a resident of Bradford County, Pennsylvania who alleges that her water was contaminated with methane, ethane, barium and other hazardous substances. Parker Waichman’s partner firms include The Law Office of Michael Gleeson, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault and the Becnel Law Firm, LLC.
2011: According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 1920 wells have been drilled and 3337 permits have been issued in the Marcellus Shale.
May 9, 2011: The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publishes a study showing that hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale has contaminated local water wells in Pennsylvania. Researchers found that 51 out of 60 wells contained methane that could have only come from the natural gas drilled from the Marcellus Shale. Concentrations were significantly higher than the recommendations set by the U.S. Department of the Interior. According to lead author and environmental scientist Robert Jackson, one homeowner was able to set his drinking water on fire.
Dec. 8, 2011: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms a likely association between polluted drinking water in Pavilion, Wyoming and local hydrofracking activity. According to NPR, “The EPA’s found that compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath a Wyoming community where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals.” Pavilion residents advised against drinking their water after benzene and other various hydrocarbons were discovered in EPA test wells.
Jan. 19, 2012: The EPA takes action in Dimock, Pennsylvania, where 60 homes may be exposed to hazardous drinking water as a result of nearby fracking. Clean water will be supplied to four families with compromised wells, and water sampling will be performed in others. The agency reportedly found arsenic, barium and other toxic agents, said NPR. Families in Dimock have had issues water quality ever since 2008, when Cabot Corp began hydrofracking in their town.
Mar. 2012: Wyoming state government collaborates with the EPA to conduct further testing in Pavilion. The two agencies release a joint statement, announcing plans to conduct two more rounds of testing because they “recognize that further sampling of the deep monitoring wells drilled for the agency’s groundwater study is important to clarify questions about the initial monitoring results.” cites Bloomberg News.
Mar. 2012: Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources suggests that a previous series of earthquakes is likely attributed to fracking activity, Reuters reports. The 11 earthquakes struck on New Year’s Eve 2011, and reached a magnitude of 4.0. Prior to this, the affected area has no history of seismic activity.
Mar. 2012: Mark and Sandra Mangan and William and Stephanie Boggs (two couples in Medina County, Ohio) assert that they were exposed to harmful chemicals from the nearby drilling and hydrofracking conducted by Landmark 4 LLC. They request that a federal court require periodic medical testing to ensure their health and safety after the alleged exposure. The Mangans and Boggs are represented by Cleveland attorney John Climaco and William Dubanevich of Parker Waichman.