Four legal case in the northern panhandle are now before federal Judge Frederick Stamp of the Northern District of West Virginia. All four cases involve property owners versus Chesapeake Energy. These have been reported upon by the Morgantown Dominion Post newspaper.
Rine case –This case was reported on earlier here. This past week Chesapeake Energy continued the removal of material from a pit where drilling cuttings had been buried, on the property of Larry and Jana Rine of Wetzel county. A temporary restraining order had previously been imposed by the Court, but it has expired. In a recent agreement, Chesapeake will provide notice when the excavation is complete permitting the Rines to take soil samples from the pit. The Rines have been concerned that contaminated soil was being spread over their property.
Kahle case – Melvin and Carol Kahle of Ohio county insist that Chesapeake Energy does not have a valid lease. They originally signed a lease in 2006 with Range Resources which was terminated in August of 2010. However, Chesapeake claims to have purchased the lease in July of 2010. This case is set for a pretrial hearing on October 31, 2011.
Teel case – Dewey and Gay Teel of Blake Ridge in Wetzel county claim that drilling operations have permanently damaged and polluted a portion of their land due primarily to the burial of Marcellus drilling wastes there. Chesapeake states that the lease and common law property rights allow the use of as much of the surface as is reasonably necessary for drilling and producing the gas, without the permission of the surface land owner(s). This case is set for pretrial and settlement conferences on March 26, 2012.
Whiteman case – Martin and Lisa Whiteman of Silver Hill in Wetzel county claim that the drillers placed pond liners on two separate parcels of their land that were later torn and buried with their contents. The land disturbances have substantially reduced the use of the land for farming. Chesapeake denies any wrongdoing. This case is set for a pretrial hearing on April 16, 2012.