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The fight in the northeast over gas drilling took a turn Friday as Pennsylvania residents filed suit in federal district court to stop future drilling in the Marcellus Shale by Cabot Oil and Gas, a Houston-based energy concern, according to ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten. Companies are drilling (or plan to drill) in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and Western New York. The residents in this case claim their streams and fields have been damaged by toxic spills and that their drinking water has been contaminated. 

Lustgarten reports that the residents are alleging that “Cabot allowed methane and metals to seep into drinking water wells, failed to uphold terms of its contracts with landowners, and acted fraudulently when it said that the drilling process, including the chemicals used in the underground manipulation process called hydraulic fracturing, could not contaminate groundwater and posed no harm to the people who live there.”

Lustgarten tells the history of conflict between the residents and Cabot. One woman’s well exploded after a methane buildup. Methan and metals have been found in other wells in the area. The state has found that Cabot is responsible for several surface spills of fuel and fluids. “In addition to the cost of health care and health monitoring, the suit seeks compensation for the loss of property values in the rural area — something that would allow affected residents there, if nothing else, to leave,” Lustgarten reports.

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