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Ohio Utica Shale

EQT offers $50,000 to neighbors to release firm from any liability

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From ProPublica on Wednesday:

Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front

When EQT Corporation, one of the largest producers of natural gas in Pennsylvania, started getting complaints from residents living near one of its fracking sites, the company tried a rare and aggressive tactic: It offered to pay every household $50,000 in cash if they would agree to release the company from any legal liability, for current operations as well as those to be carried out in the future.

ProPublica's Naveena Sadasivam reports that the agreement is incredibly broad, covering health problems and property damage, and giving the company blanket protection from any kind of claim over noise, dust, light, smoke, odors, fumes, vibrations and more.

Key takeaways from her piece:

  • These types of agreements -- often known as nuisance easements -- have been used for property owners living close to airports or landfills but are almost unheard of in the oil and gas industry.
  • Nuisance easements may be one way for companies to block landowners from claiming damages. Earlier this year, a couple in Texas was awarded $3 million in a lawsuit against a gas drilling company, alleging that air pollution from gas drilling activity caused health illness. Experts say the verdict and others like it have emboldened landowners to take their claims to court.
  • Over the years, the oil and gas industry has vehemently denied that its work is a threat. However, many environmentalists and public health experts contend that the practice can pollute groundwater aquifers, drastically reduce air quality and endanger the health of residents living near wells.

You can read the full story here - It's free to link to or reprint under our Creative Commons license.




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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

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