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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 - http://www.propublica.org/article/aggressive-tactic-on-the-fracking-front. It's free to link to or reprint under our Creative Commons license.

 

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ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.