Pennsylvania Families' Victory in Fracking Water Contamination Suit Sets Strong Precedent, Says Josh Fox
Mar 10, 2016, 04:37 ET
SCRANTON, Pa., March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a landmark legal victory for residents harmed by fracking, today jurors in a federal civil suit ordered Cabot Oil and Gas, one of Pennsylvania's largest fracking companies, to pay a total of $4.24 million to two families in Dimock, Pennsylvania for contaminating their well water. One of the two plaintiffs, Scott Ely and family, whose well was contaminated since 2008, is the subject of "GASLAND 2," a 2013 documentary film by Josh Fox. Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated "GASLAND" and artistic director of International WOW Company, says that after eight years of struggle, the decision vindicates claims that Cabot caused the contamination, and sets a strong precedent for holding fracking companies accountable for damaging residents.
"The Ely and Hubert families never asked for money, they asked for water, and kept the faith they'd get justice from a jury," said Fox. "They were the only two families in their contaminated neighborhood along Carter Road who held out, refused to settle with the company and sign non-disclosure agreements. Because of their perseverance, now we finally have disclosure and vindication."
During the eight-year dispute, Cabot maintained the contaminated wells had nothing to do with its operations, even though the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found Cabot was responsible for contaminating Dimock's water supply through faulty well casing construction. Industry groups such as Energy In Depth sought to discredit the plaintiff's claims, while the attack film "FrackNation" sought to discredit "GASLAND" and "GASLAND 2."
"None of that deterred the Ely and Hubert families, or the jury," said Fox. "Despite the industry's loud denials, the jury heard the evidence and found Cabot was responsible for contaminating these families' water. That's a precedent for other families damaged by fracking; it should open the floodgates to more litigation."
Fox's new film, "How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change" premiered at Sundance in January 2016. It documents communities fighting climate change, refusing more fossil fuel development, and seeking renewable solutions. Today the film kicks off a "solutions tour" to 100 cities and towns fighting unwanted natural gas and fossil fuel infrastructure, and will air nationwide on HBO on June 27, information at www.howtoletgomovie.com.
NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: Josh Fox is available for interviews on request.
Contact: Stephen Kent, [email protected], 914-589-5988
SOURCE International WOW Company
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