Texas Landowners Sue Oil Companies for Water Contamination During Hydraulic Fracking
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 21, 2011 - Gregory D. Jordan, an experienced Austin oil and gas attorney, Austin business lawyer and business litigation lawyer offers commentary on recent suits.
Two recently filed lawsuits in Texas argue that hydraulic fracturing in the Barnett Shale has caused significant groundwater contamination. One suit has been filed pertaining to property in Tarrant County and a similar suit has been filed covering property in Denton County. The Tarrant County suit names Chesapeake Energy and Encana Oil & Gas as Defendants. Devon Energy is named as a Defendant in the Denton County suit. Both the Denton County lawsuit and the Tarrant County lawsuit are pending before U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay in Dallas.
The Barnett Shale field is a massive natural gas producer, but because the shale is an almost impermeable formation, essentially all of the wells in the field must undergo a process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in order to produce gas. Fracking is the process in which millions of gallons of water are mixed with chemicals and other materials and are injected under extremely high pressure into the wellbore. This fractures the rock and allows channels to develop through which the gas can migrate to the wellbore.
In each of these recently filed suits, the Plaintiffs have alleged that the fracking of gas wells contaminated the groundwater that supplied water wells to the landowners. Austin oil and gas attorney, Gregory D. Jordan notes “if these allegations are true, then the oil companies may be liable for the pollution they have caused. The companies should be able to conduct their operations in such a manner that they do not contaminate groundwater supplies.”
Texas oil and gas attorney Jordan continues, “Oil and gas companies have an obligation to avoid polluting groundwater supplies. While the Barnett Shale formation is an extremely important producer of natural gas, development must be done responsibly.”
These two fracking lawsuits are particularly interesting because they follow closely behind allegations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency that water wells in Parker County, Texas were contaminated as a result of natural gas drilling done by Range Resources.
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