Saturday, April 1, 2017

Judge cancels $4M fracking award to Dimock, Pa. families

Dimock resident Scott Ely at a protest in 2012. A judge overturned a jury award for him and other Dimock plaintiffs.
Dimock resident Scott Ely at a protest in 2012.  Photo credit: Susan Phillips -StateImpact

Jon Hurdle and Susan Phillips report for StateImpact:

A federal judge on Friday struck down a jury’s award of
more than $4 million to two Pennsylvania families who claimed their well water was contaminated by gas drilling, saying the award bore little or no relationship to the evidence presented at the 2016 trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson of the Middle District
of Pennsylvania ordered a new trial of the case brought by the families in Dimock, led by Scott Ely, who said at the original trial that their water had been contaminated since 2008.
The verdict in March of 2016 was hailed as a major victory
by critics of the gas industry, who argued that the rural community of Dimock was a poster child for the hazards of shale gas development.
But the judge, in a 58-page opinion released late Friday, reversed the award of $4.24 million against Cabot Oil & Gas which the jury determined had been negligent in its extraction of natural gas in the community.
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