Pennsylvania lawsuit says drilling polluted water
A Pennsylvania landowner is suing an energy company for polluting his soil and water in an attempt to link a natural gas drilling technique with environmental contamination.
George Zimmermann, the owner of 480 acres in Washington County, southwest Pennsylvania, says Atlas Energy Inc. ruined his land with toxic chemicals used in or released there by hydraulic fracturing.
(Editing by Mark Egan and Philip Barbara)
See: Benzene Leukemia Law Blog. Burke and Eisner. PA Suit Claims Drilling Causing Water Contamination
Editing by Daniel Trotta and Mohammad Zargham.
"U.S. government scientists have for the first time found chemical contaminants in drinking water wells near natural gas drilling operations, fueling concern that a gas-extraction technique is endangering the health of people who live close to drilling rigs."
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday proposed new rules to strengthen state regulation of natural gas drilling to protect drinking water supplies and announced the hiring of 68 new inspectors.
[Regulations] would require energy companies to restore or replace water supplies affected by drilling; require operators to notify regulators of any leakage of gas into water wells; and direct drillers to construct well casings from oilfield-grade cement designed to prevent leakage of drilling fluid into underground water supplies.
To bolster enforcement, the state's Department of Environmental Protection was hiring 68 new inspectors in addition to the 120 already on staff.
Pennsylvania officials say energy companies have applied for 5,200 permits in the Marcellus Shale this year, almost triple the number in 2009, as drillers scramble to develop the huge gas field underlying about two-thirds of Pennsylvania and parts of surrounding states.