Laura Legere reports that Cabot and 32 of 36 families in Dimock that sued the company for contaminating their water wells are nearing a settlement. See: http://citizensvoice.com/news/cabot-and-dimock-families-near-settlement-1.1358912.
Please, please let a settlement end the Cabot-Dimock litigation. It's time and would be good for all involved.
To recap, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found in 2009-2010 that gas drilling mistakes caused gas to migrate to and contaminate 18 water wells. Substantial testing by DEP also found that fracking fluids had not contaminated the aquifer or water wells. EPA testing in 2011 and 2012 confirmed that fracking fluids or chemicals had not contaminated water wells.
To remedy the documented gas migration problem at 18 water wells, DEP ordered the plugging and repair of suspect gas wells, stopped issued drilling permits in a zone where gas had migrated, fined Cabot cumulatively more than $1.3 million, and ordered compensation in the amount of $4.1 million be paid through escrow accounts to the 18 families. The average payment was $201,000 and was valued at two times the property value of the home.
Of those 18 families for whom escrow accounts were established, 7 received the payments and 11 chose not to take the payments, while continuing litigation.
The lessons from this case are numerous for regulators, companies, landowners, and environmental organizations, but the most important is the importance of excellence in cementing and gas well design to prevent gas migration. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.