father Court date for gas drillers in Dimock contamination case

A criminal hearing is scheduled for this week against a natural gas driller on felony charges in Pennsylvania over allegations that he contaminated the drinking water of a small Susquehanna County community.

Houston representative based Coterra Energy Inc. will appear in Susquehanna County Court on Tuesday, November 29, according to the Associated Press. AP attributes information about the reported scheduled appearance to online court records.

Kathy Whyte / WNBF News

Kathy Whyte / WNBF News

coterras The company’s predecessor, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., was indicted on felony charges alleging drilling faulty gas wells that leaked flammable methane into residential water supplies in Dimock and surrounding communities.

While the Northeast Pennsylvania community became famous for its burning tap water, Cabot and even many local residents have claimed that gas always occurs naturally in water and that demonstrations of how to set fire to the stream from the faucet have been common for many years.

Environmentalists claim that any naturally occurring methane in groundwater and wells has been exacerbated by large-scale horizontal fracturing in the region that has pumped high-pressure fluids into the shale to fracture the rock and release natural gas deposits.

The issue isn’t just affecting methane gas, as some local residents also claimed their water was contaminated with drilling chemicals, which were first reported in 2009 and led to Pennsylvania officials banning Cabot from drilling or completing wells located in and near Dimock had been started.

Cabot had sunk 62 fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale in a nine-square-mile area in Susquehanna County since the company began offering mineral claims to local residents in 2006 for about $25 an acre, according to a release by The Berkley Water Filter Company. The report goes on to say that other nearby towns have received bids for mineral rights ranging from $4,000 to $5,000 per acre after the initial bids were made to residents of Dimock.

Last week, residents of Dimock met with water utility Pennsylvania American Water to discuss a plan to drill two water wells and build a treatment plant that will remove any contaminants from the water before it is sent to about 20 homes.

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