Jury seated in water contamination trial, Two Pennsylvania families claim that fracking fouled water

By Staff Writer | Feb 23, 2016 08:27 AM EST

Jury selection has started on Monday in a federal court case. The two North-eastern Pennsylvanian families accuse that Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation contaminated their well water with methane when it started fracking for natural gas.

According to Reuters, The case initially involved 40 people, but then Scott Ely and Monica Marta-Ely and Ray and Victoria Hubert, the two couples, are the only plaintiffs who remained standing for the allegation that Cabot contaminated the well water. The rest of the claimants already settled with Cabot, which is a major producer in Susquehanna County.

Marta Ely stated, while gesturing to her 13-year old son, Jared, at a news conference during a break in the jury selection, "We haven't had clean water since he was in kindergarten." It was also claimed that the process of hyrodraulic fracking, which extracts gas from underground shale formations, has brought a widespread opposition in many parts of the U.S.

Yahoo! News also reported that hyrodraulic fractioning is to be blamed for the environmental destruction, noise pollution, as well as earthquakes in the country. But the company's supporters opposed the idea as they claim that the process is proven to be safe.

The families who are taking the court in trial live close to Dimock, Pennsylvania, which was made well-known by an Oscar-nominated documentary, "Gasland", to raise anti-fracking movement. The 2010 documentary revealed that tap water in the area that could be set on fire since it contained methane gas. The two families admitted that water in their homes was even flammable in the past.

Both families are asking for compensatory and punitive damages from Cabot for the alleged fouling of the water supply. Scott Ely, who lived in Dimock since 1800s, stated that he hauls tankers of water for his family. The family even showed off the bottle of water from the well with the color of coffee and cream, as claimed by Townhall.

Meanwhile, the court documents suggest that the trial will bring to light a state law that assumes that a gas driller is responsible for the water contamination in the area. However, Cabot still argues that the state law diverges too much from traditional tort law, which requires the plaintiffs to prove damages.

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