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Blaise Pascal
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

STOP GAS DRILLING - SUE YOUR FRACKING NEIGHBOR

"It's just Real Estate 101"

Gotta Love It

"Two recent Pennsylvania lawsuits, filed separately against Southwest Energy Co. and Chesapeake Energy Corp., claim that their gas drilling has contaminated local water supplies...
and harmed the related property values."

Claim 1: gas drilling contaminated the water

"...defense attorneys can try to play out the clock on the water contamination claim with what you could call the tobacco defense -- first deny there was any contamination, then that gas drilling caused it, then insist the issue needs more study,and finally say there's no way to quantify the damage. By the time they're ready to settle, it's many years later, and drilling's gone on apace. ... case will be an appeal to common sense -- that the water was fine until drilling began, so it obviously caused the contamination. How useful common sense will be in a court room remains to be seen. ...expects the case to last at least two years -- before appeals."

Claim 2: gas drilling has harmed property values

"It's the stronger claim, ...I don't think there is a defense against it. Nationwide, the statistical case that gas drilling depresses property values is practically bullet-proof."

AN ALTERNATE CLAIM:
Anticipatory Nuisance

"...it's basically the notion that you can stop your neighbor from doing something if waiting to sue until you're harmed is ludicrous. In a western, this is where the marshal says you shot in self-defense.  'It's a doctrine that's established in common law, ...A court would not be making new law' by supporting such a claim, and 'it presents a plaintiff with a lot of ammunition.' The beauty here is that applying the case law to gas drilling is no stretch."

"These are really ...different sorts of lawsuits; (the first two) compensate you if drilling's already taken place and the (third) would stop it before it happened."

"Here's the scenario. Most gas leases in New York, Ohio, and much of Pennsylvania are running out and need to be renewed. It's one of the big reasons drilling's taking place now; if they are renewed, the lease prices will jump, but if the well's drilled before the lease expires, the old deal still holds.
"This is where you get together with the neighbors who don't want drilling around them, and then explain to the neighbor with the lease that if he does drill, he'll have to make their neighbors whole, and if he renews, he'll be sued for anticipatory nuisance.
"Taking this approach probably wouldn't make your neighbor your best friend; but a cynic might point out that he probably wasn't thinking about you when he signed the lease in the first place. And it does offer the promise of letting you sit on your porch for years, watching the sunset."

Huffington Post - HERE

Like Diogenes, I am a Cynic


Looking for an honest man
Oh, yeah

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