“Fracking" is when oil and gas companies blast millions of gallons of water treated with chemicals into the ground to force oil and gas from hard-to-reach places deep inside the earth. Along with a fracking-fueled gas rush have come troubling reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, and sick families.
But the oil and gas industry’s pattern of secrecy makes it difficult for researchers to study health and environmental impacts. One way that the gas industry keeps its secrets is by requiring people who settle damage lawsuits to sign non-disclosure agreements. These agreements have proven to be the norm, as this chart demonstrates.
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New York (2)
West Virginia (2)
CASE NAME / STATUS
INFORMATION NOT PUBLICLY AVAILABLE
Tucker v. Southwestern Energy Co. No. 11-0044 E.D. Ark. filed 5/17/2011 Active
Class action on behalf of residents living close to gas operations controlled by the defendant.
Southwestern Energy contaminated a private water well with fracking fluid (including alpha methylstyrene), and caused soil and air pollution as well.
Protective order governing discovery materials entered December 16, 2011, Doc. # 79.
Ginardi v. Frontier Gas Services, LLC No. 11-0420 E.D. Ark. filed 5/17/2011 Active
Class-action on behalf of plaintiffs who reside close to a natural gas compressor or transmission stations in the state of Arkansas.
Residents living close to natural gas compressor stations are exposed to harmful levels of methane, hydrogen sulfide, and other emissions.
Protective order governing confidentiality of discovery materials entered November 9, 2011, Doc. # 79.
Berry v. Southwestern Energy Company No. 11-0045 E.D. Ark. filed 5/17/2011 Active
Class action on behalf of plaintiffs who reside within 3 miles of natural gas wells in the state of Arkansas.
In 2011, Southwestern Energy caused methane to migrating to the named plaintiffs' drinking water well in Quitman, Arkansas.
No protective order entered.
Case name and number unknown Settlement in 2006
Chemicals used in fracking contaminated plaintiff's drinking water and caused her to develop a rare form of cancer.
According to newspaper accounts, the plaintiff's lawyer obtained documents proving that chemicals present in drinking water were used in the defendant's fracking fluids. Confidential settlement, which, according to press accounts, contained a nondisclosure agreement.
Case name and number unknown Settlement
Methane contamination of private water well caused by drilling.
According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and press reports, the parties reached an out-of-court, confidential settlement.
Strudley v. Antero Resources Corp. No. 11-2218 Denver Co. Dist. Ct. filed 3/23/2011 Unknown
William and Beth Strudley, and their two children, William and Charles
Drilling and operation of three gas wells near the family's property caused groundwater contamination and air pollution.
Evenson v. Antero Resources Corp. No. 11-5118 Denver Co. Dist. Ct. filed 7/20/2011 Unknown
Families in Garfield County
The defendant gas companyexposed the families to hazardous gases, chemicals, and toxic waste.