Fracking is on trial in Pennsylvania this week as two families, who refused to settle in their pursuit of justice, have launched a court battle against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.
Neighbors Scott Ely and his wife, Monica Marta-Ely, and Ray and Victoria Hubert are accusing the fossil fuel giant of groundwater contamination, resulting in the loss of their drinking water supply.
Both families live in the town of Dimock, which has become the cornerstone in the fight against fracking and was featured in the 2010 documentary Gasland. The film is credited with exposing the toxic impacts of the drilling process, spurring the national anti-fracking movement.
During opening arguments on Tuesday, attorney Leslie Lewis told the jury that Cabot had shown “reckless disregard” for the health and safety of her clients and other members of the community.
As NPR’s State Impact notes, “The region surrounding Dimock is what’s known as the ‘sweet spot,’ breaking records with gushing shale gas wells and spurring an upswing in interstate pipeline construction.”
However, since 2008, Dimock families have reported problems with their drinking water, and experienced rashes, nausea, headaches, and dizziness, according to Energy Justice, which is providing legal support for the plaintiffs.
The road to the courtroom has been bitter and complicated, advocates say. Originally, 22 families from Dimock and Springville Townships in Susquehanna County were involved in the case but, as it dragged on, all but the Elys and the Huberts have settled with Cabot.
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