Jeremiah Magers Suing Chesapeake for methane contaminated drinking water now also Suing CNX, Columbia

Jeremiah Magers Now Suing CNX, Columbia by Casey Junkins, December 31, 2012, The Intelligencer
CAMERON – Chesapeake Energy attorneys deny the company’s drilling and fracking contaminated Jeremiah Magers’ drinking water well with methane, so he is now suing CNX Gas Corp. and Columbia Gas Transmission for the problem. Since 2009, Magers has been dealing with issues at his residence near Cameron that he believes are directly related to drilling and fracking operations. In 2010, he said he heard heavy natural gas gurgles and detected a mist coming from his water well, so he called 911. The mist was such that Magers said he had to “burn off” some of the gas to help prevent an explosion. Magers previously reported his water well became contaminated with methane – and that natural gas began bubbling in Fish Creek – shortly after Chesapeake began fracking at a production site roughly 1,200 feet from Magers’ water tank. His complaint states, “Sufficient gas was present that the plaintiffs could ignite both the water and Fish Creek.”

Magers originally filed suit against Chesapeake in Marshall County Circuit Court in February, but the case was later shifted to U.S. District Court in Wheeling. Magers’ attorney, Joseph Canestraro, alleges Chesapeake’s failure to provide a fresh water source demonstrates “willful, wanton, intentional, reckless and malicious” behavior, along with “criminal indifference to the obligations it owed to the plaintiffs.” However, Magers has now amended his complaint to also file suit against CNX Gas Corp. and Columbia Gas Transmission. CNX is the natural gas drilling arm of Consol Energy, the parent company of the local McElroy and Shoemaker coal mines. The amended complaint states that CNX “drilled shallow gas wells on a tract of land adjacent to the plaintiffs’ property. It further notes that Columbia “has a gas storage field on a tract of land adjacent to plaintiffs’ property.”

Chesapeake officials previously said the company addressed the issues at Magers’ property by collecting water samples. Chesapeake withdrew the water supply from Magers’ home because the company’s test results showed the “methane present in the water sample did not match the gas from our oil and gas operations.” West Virginia Office of Oil and Gas Chief James Martin previously confirmed his department has investigated the source of Magers’ gas problems, but he said the representatives were unable to draw a conclusion regarding the source of the methane.  [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: Divide Creek Seep 2004 that resulted in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issuing a record fine against EnCana video by DivideWatch, April 2, 2004

Alleged Violations of the rules and regulations of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. Cause No. 1V, Order No. 1V-276 before the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission of the State of Colorado, September 16, 2004. 29
The COGCC staff hand-delivered a Notice of Alleged Violation (“NOAV”) to EnCana on April 23, 2004. …The NOAV cited Rule 209., failure to prevent the contamination of fresh water by gas, Rule 301., failure to notify the Director when public health or safety is in jeopardy, Rule 317.i., failure to pump cement 200’ above the top of the shallowest producing horizon, Rule 324A., impacts to water quality and Rule 906.b.(3), failure to report a release to the Director. ]

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