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The dangerous health risks of hydraulic fracturing and what can be done
On New Year’s Day, 2009, a water well exploded in the Dimock Township of Pennsylvania. This sparked an investigation that revealed that the Cabot Oil & Gas Company "Had allowed combustible gas to escape into the region's groundwater supplies," (pressconnects.com). Cabot was engaging in a method of gas drilling called hydraulic fracturing involving toxic chemicals. The hazardous waste produced from hydraulic fracturing can cause serious harm.
Over a dozen families filed lawsuits against Cabot. Each family asked for an environmental cleanup, medical monitoring and compensation in the amount of $75,000. In December 2010, Cabot settled with Dimock Township in the total of $4.1 million (innovationtrail.com).
Weitz & Luxenberg wants to help those negatively affected by hydraulic fracking. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.
What is hydraulic fracturing?
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a process commonly used by gas drilling companies by which chemicals mixed with water at high pressures are used to fracture rocks. Doing this allows fluids to flow more easily from a reservoir. In the cases of drilling for oil, hydraulic fracturing may be used to draw the oil from a deep well more effectively.
What are the health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing?
The exact health risks of hydraulic fracturing are not specifically known; however, each year more cases are brought to the attention of the EPA and the United States government concerning contamination of water supplies near well sites that involve hydraulic fracturing. Over 50 chemicals are used that are known to cause cancer in some instances of fracking (peagusnews.com).
In October of 2009, an alfalfa farmer in Wyoming found that his tap water was oily and smelled of paint. When brought to the attention of the EPA, the agency found 14 "contaminants of concern," (reuters.com).
The following are recent developments concerning hydraulic fracturing (greenchange.org):
- The New York Assembly passed a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing until July, 2011.
- In March of 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency launched a two-year investigation into the effects of hydraulic fracturing.
- In November, 2010, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a measure banning natural gas drilling from the Pittsburgh city limits, citing health and environmental risks as its reasoning.
- The EPA, in 2009, found high levels of benzene, hydrocarbons and other harmful chemicals in water wells around gas rigs in Pavillion, Wyoming. Research into the matter happened after several residents complained of a foul aroma and taste in their drinking water.
What can be done?
Lawsuits against companies carelessly using the process of hydraulic fracturing have become common. Those affected by water contamination, because of fracking chemicals nearby, have the right to compensation for any injuries sustained. Losses such as medical bills from health injuries, income lost due to damaged crops, or pain and suffering are all deserving of compensation. Weitz & Luxenberg can assist you in filing for a lawsuit. Simply fill out the form on this page. You can explain your case and receive a free, no obligation legal consultation. There is no need to wait – contact Weitz & Luxenberg today.
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