Panola County Residents Sue Over Gas ‘Fracking’
Nearly a hundred people in Panola County have filed suit against Conoco-Phillips, saying the company's drilling practices have contaminated their ground water.
The residents, who live in the area where the Haynesville Shale strata are found, say they're not able to drink their water or use it for daily activities.
Their lawsuit claims it's because ConocoPhillips has contaminated the groundwater by not properly disposing of the waste chemicals used in the drilling technique known as "fracking".
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method that involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals into underground layers of shale. The chemicals break up the shale, which frees up the oil and gas inside the shale so it can be pumped to the surface.
The lawsuit says ConocoPhillips disposed of its fracturing wastes too close to the residents' properties. It says the residents have suffered loss of market value, loss of intrinsic value of well water into the future, emotional harm and mental anguish from deprivation of enjoyment due to the contaminated water.
They want compensation for water testing expenses, the costs of buying bottled water and property damage. They also want a permanent injunction to stop drilling and fracking activities near their land.
"Fracking" is so controversial that many states, including Texas have passed laws regulating its use. Here in Texas, a fracking disclosure law goes into effect on February 1st.
It will require Texas drilling operators to file public reports revealing what chemicals they are using in the process, and its expected impact on underground water supplies.
Many environmentalists and landowners say they're looking forward to learning what toxins have been injected in a well.