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Pa. drilling town agrees to settlement in fracking federal lawsuit

Documents indicate that residents of Dimock Township, Pa., who claim their water was poisoned by fracking, have reached a confidential settlement in a lawsuit that has been ongoing since 2009.

Wake County resident Marvin Woll joins others to protest fracking on June 27 in Raleigh, N.C. Dimock Township Penn., a small town where residents claimed fracking poisoned their well water in 2009, brought national attention to the process with a lawsuit against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. This week the township and Cabot agreed on a settlement.

Robert Willett/AP

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Residents of a northeastern Pennsylvania town who say their well water was poisoned by a gas driller are nearing a settlement of their long-running and highly contentious federal lawsuit.

Court documents filed this week indicate that residents in the tiny community of Dimock Township have agreed to a confidential settlement with Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.

Dimock became a flashpoint in the national debate over gas drilling and a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after residents claimed in 2009 that

Cabot polluted their water supply with methane gas and toxic chemicals and made some of them violently ill.

Cabot denied responsibility. Federal environmental regulators tested the aquifer this year and found the water in Dimock is safe to drink, a conclusion disputed by residents who refuse to use their wells.

State environmental regulators previously determined that Cabot contaminated the aquifer underneath homes along Carter Road in Dimock with explosive levels of methane, although they later determined the company had met its obligations under a consent agreement and allowed Cabot to stop delivering bulk and bottled water last fall.

Cabot's lawyers approached the plaintiffs in May and June with offers to settle, according to a document filed Monday in federal court. The plaintiffs' attorneys said in the document they expect the settlement money to be distributed within 60 days.


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