Norma Fiorentino of Dimock, PA has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., after her water well blew up, and state regulators blamed elevated methane levels in the well on hydraulic fracturing by Cabot. 23 families joined Fiorentino in asking the court to classify natural gas fracturing as inherently dangerous, Bloomberg reports.
Cabot reached an agreement with state regulators to establish a 44.1 million fund for 19 families whose wells are contaminated. Fiorentino said she will accept the escrow payments while she seeks additional damages in court. Cabot did not accept blame for the contamination in the settlement.
The Environmental Protection Agency is providing fresh water to four families in Dimock, and will test the water in 60 homes to see if residents have been exposed to hazardous substances.
The lawsuit is one of at least 23 lawsuits filed against various drilling companies, including Southwestern Energy Co., and Chesapeake Energy Corp., that allege fracking, which entails blasting chemical laced water into shale formations in the earth to free natural gas deposits, is inherently dangerous and causes, among other problems, pockets of methane to migrate into well water aquifers.
The Dimock case is set to be heard in court in April.