Contamination from Natural Gas Drilling Sparks Lawsuits, Investigations

Lawsuits and investigations involving water and other contamination associated with natural gas drilling, particularly hydraulic fracturing, are picking up momentum around the country. The national law firm of Parker Waichman Alonso LLP said yesterday that it and its partner firms, The Law Office of Michael Gleeson; Neblett, Beard & Arsenault; and the Becnel Law Firm, LLC, are representing dozens of individuals whose well water has been contaminated by natural gas drilling.

The group says investigations are ongoing in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming and other states, and more lawsuits will be filed in the near future.

Just last month, Parker Waichman Alonso LLP and its partners filed suit against Chesapeake Appalachia, LLP, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and Nomac Drilling LLC on behalf of a woman from Bradford County, Pennsylvania alleging that her water well was contaminated due to gas drilling operations being conducted by those Defendants (Index #: 10 cv 000681).

The same group of attorneys is also representing 13 families in adjacent Susquehanna County against Houston, Texas-based Southwest Energy Production Company and its parent, Southwestern Energy Company. The complaint alleges that gas exploration being conducted by Southwestern Energy near the Plaintiffs’ homes has contaminated their water wells Plaintiffs’ homes has contaminated their water wells (Civil Action No: 2010-1882CP).

Both lawsuits allege that because of the Defendants’ actions, the Plaintiffs have been and continue to be exposed to hazardous substances coming from the natural gas drilling operations. The lawsuits claim, among other things, that some Plaintiffs, including an infant child, have suffered health problems consistent with toxic exposures. Both lawsuits also allege that because of the contamination of their water supplies, the value of the Plaintiffs’ property has diminished, and they have lost the use and enjoyment of their property, and the quality of life they otherwise enjoyed.

In a statement, Parker Waichman Alonso LLP said it and its partners have also been retained by victims who have chemicals in their blood associated with water contamination due to natural gas drilling and exploration.

The law firms are also investigating several instances of water contamination that may be associated with straight line drilling being performed by Anschutz Exploration and its contractor, R.W Consulting, in Big Flats, Chemung County, New York. Methane contamination in water wells for at least 10 homes has already been confirmed, but the number is expected to rise as more testing is completed. It is unknown at this time if the contamination is limited to methane, and test results for barium and other toxic substances are pending.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for victims of water contamination due to natural gas drilling is available at the Water Contamination Center.

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