Fracking by Chesapeake and Billiton Petroleum Blamed for ‘Thousands of Quakes’ and Damaging Homes in Arkansas Lawsuit

Fracking Blamed for ‘Thousands of Quakes’ by Erik de la Garza, February 19, 2014, Courthouse News
LITTLE ROCK (CN) – Fracking by Chesapeake oil and Billiton Petroleum caused “thousands of earthquakes” that damaged homes and caused the state’s largest earthquake in the past 35 years, two Central Arkansas families claim in court.

Daryl and Nicole Davis and Joel and Terri Van Pelt sued Chesapeake Operating Inc. and BHP Billiton Petroleum in Federal Court, claiming their fracking “caused thousands of earthquakes in mini-clusters and swarms in central Arkansas in 2010 and 2011.” Both families live in Greenbrier, about 40 miles north of Little Rock. They claim their homes and property were damaged as “a direct and proximate consequence of defendants’ oil and gas operations in Arkansas, and more specifically, their disposal of the wastewater generated during the process of extracting natural gas from the Fayetteville Shale by injecting it back into the earth in disposal wells.” This is one of dozens of lawsuits filed across the country, blaming fracking for earthquake-damaged homes. Some have claimed that fracking caused tapwater to burn.

Chesapeake owned and operated injection wells throughout Faulkner County, near Greenbrier, the families claim. They claim that “scientists have known for half a century that disposal well operations will cause earthquakes. In fact, since the late 1960s, scientists studying whether earthquakes and seismic activities can be induced by certain human actions have accepted that induced seismic activity can and does occur.”

A graph prepared by the Arkansas Geological Survey, on page 7 of the complaint, “shows that Arkansas experienced almost as many earthquakes in years following disposal well activity than it did in the previous twenty years collectively,” the complaint states. In what the USGS tagged as the ‘Arkansas Earthquake Swam of October 2010,’ hundreds of earthquakes hit central Arkansas in October 2010 alone. ome of the earthquakes were of substantial magnitude. For example, earthquakes of 4.0 and 3.8 in magnitude were centered in the Guy/Greenbrier area on October 11th and October 15th. These two big earthquakes were felt widely across Arkansas.”

The Davis’ home is less than a mile from the center of the 4.7 earthquake that occurred on Feb. 28, 2011, according to the complaint. The Van Pelt’s home is approximately 2.3 miles from the epicenter of that quake. Both families say their homes suffered physical damage and loss of market value. They claim that their “lives have also been damaged by defendants’ disposal well operations and resulting earthquakes in that they have suffered emotional distress and increased anxiety and worry of additional and possibly more severe earthquakes that could further damage their property or injure themselves or a family member in their home.”

They say Chesapeake and Billiton’s conduct “while knowing that disposal well operations can and do induce seismic activity is extreme, outrageous, and intolerable.” They seek punitive damages for public and private nuisance, absolute liability, trespass, negligence, deceptive trade practices, outrage and emotional distress. They are represented by Corey D. McGaha with Emerson Poynter, of Houston. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Arkansas homeowners settle fracking lawsuit, Frackers Sued for Causing Earthquakes, Five federal lawsuits mark the first attempt to link drilling and quakes

Oklahoma wonders why earthquakes are dramatically increasing: Is oil and gas drilling and fracking to blame?

USGS to make separate risk map for man-made quakes; National Research Council excludes 272 frac-caused quakes in BC’s Horn River Basin off global map

Has the frac industry lost Texas? At earthquake town hall meeting of more than 800, Texans call for fracking to stop

Fracking linked to earthquakes, study finds, raises new concern about earthquakes and fracking fluids

Lawsuit: Quakes caused by frack water disposal damaged homes, Two Alvarado homeowners are suing several energy companies saying they induced earthquakes that damaged their homes

Parts of Low Country in Loppersum, the Netherlands, Are Now Quake Country; Pressure from 90s fracking may have caused Oklahoma’s biggest quake

Quake Lawsuits Shake Up Shale Play Companies

Families Blame Fracking for Destructive Quakes

Lawsuit challenges frackers’ waste disposal practices in Arkansas

Safety Rules for Fracking Disposal Wells Often Ignored, The growing number of wells used to dispose of wastewater from fracking are subject to lax oversight

The shaky state of fracking

NEW SOUTH JOURNALISM: Arkansas Fracking Investigation

Fracking Catches the Attention of Insurers, With public attention focused on the practice, and lawsuits piling up, fracking is now a business concern too

EARTHQUAKES Second of Two Parts: Okla. officials ignore advice about injecting into faults

BHP hit with another fracking fracas in US courts

EARTHQUAKES: Drillers face first class-action suit for triggered temblors

Canadian studies launched in April 2012 to examine fracking and earthquakes

Arkansas commission votes to shut down natural gas drilling wastewater wells

Quakes Push Arkansas to Limit Gas-Waste Wells

2011: Ark. couple files suit, blaming recent rash of earthquakes on companies’ injection wells

Shutdown of wells extended in Arkansas quake study

Scientist blames quakes on drilling ]

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