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Natural Gas Drilling Company Makes Preemptive Payments to Homeowners

July 24th, 2014

A Pennsylvania natural gas drilling company has started offering homeowners preemptive payments in a possible effort to head off potential lawsuits. EQT Corporation has been offering homeowners in a Pittsburgh suburb $50,000 in exchange for releasing the company from any liability surrounding their natural gas drilling operations. The payment would not only release the company from past and current problems related to pollution, noise, traffic and other issues, it would also hold the company harmless for future issues surrounding its operations in the area.

Natural Gas Drilling and Fracking

The natural gas drilling company has been using hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking” to access natural gas deposits that were previously inaccessible by conventional methods. The fracking method involves high pressure jets of water, sand and toxic chemicals sprayed into gas wells in an effort to loosen the rock and sediment surrounding natural gas deposits. Fracking has allowed natural gas drilling operations to expand across the country, but especially in states with rich deposits, such as Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

Natural Gas Drilling and Environmental Hazards

In response to the complaints, the natural gas drilling company proposed to offer $50,000 to every homeowner in exchange for clearing the company of any past, present and future liability. Homeowners who accepted the payment would waive their right to sue EQT for any issues stemming from the natural gas drilling operations. At first, the contract required all the affected homeowners to agree to accept the conditions before any of them received the payment, but the company changed those conditions when several homeowners spoke out against the offer.

Company Makes Innovative Natural Gas Drilling Settlements

In response to the complaints, the gas drilling company proposed to offer $50,000 to every homeowner in exchange for clearing the company of any past, present and future liability. Homeowners who accepted the payment would waive their right to sue EQT for any issues stemming from the gas drilling operations. At first, the contract required all the affected homeowners to agree to accept the conditions before any of them received the payment, but the company changed those conditions when several homeowners spoke out against the offer.

Natural Gas Drilling Operations and Quality of Life

One homeowner who stood against the natural gas drilling settlement was Gary Baumgardner. Mr. Baumgardner told a reporter that his house vibrated at all times of the day at levels up to 75 decibels. He also stated that his pregnant daughter had to leave the house after an air quality monitor showed toxic levels of fumes in the air. He believed that his house is “most often not livable” and that EQT has responded to residents’ complaints with “constant dismissal, excuses, delays and broken promises.”

Source: ProPublica

Know Your Rights in a Natural Gas Drilling Lawsuit

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