What About Fracking Disturbances Behind Your Home?

by Duane Nichols on February 10, 2016

WV Legislature Gone Amuk

Thou Shalt Not Sue in West Virginia, says SB-508

From an Article by Dory Hippauf, Frackorporation, February 7, 2016

Approximately 220 nuisance lawsuits have been filed in West Virginia  over the past 3 years against such drilling/fracking companies such as Antero Resources, EQT and Hall Drilling.

WV is considered a national energy hub, leading the nation in net interstate electricity exports and underground coal mine production, while experiencing a growing natural gas industry as a result of the Great Shale Gas Rush. Overall, it produces 15% of the nation’s fossil fuel energy. The state’s underground natural gas storage represents 6% of the nation’s total, and overall it has 5.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves through 2008 estimates.

Beneath WV is the Marcellus Shale and its vast natural gas resource. The natural gas trapped in the Marcellus Shale was considered to be unrecoverable until approximately 10 years ago. Technological improvements through a combination of chemicals, horizontal drilling and “fracking” changed all that.

Along with the natural gas hyped promise of “jobs” and money came numerous problems to residents, including water contamination, air pollution, noise, traffic, and more. Living the drill in WV (and elsewhere) means sleepless nights from the noise and lights coming from a well pad, it means keeping windows closed – even in the summer months – to prevent breathing in emissions. It means putting up with thousands of trucks running 24/7 up and down rural roads and kicking up dust.

IT IS A NUISANCE —

Residents have little recourse to stop or curtail the drilling except through the courts and this has led to the increase of filing Nuisance Lawsuits.

In a nuisance lawsuit, a plaintiff is basically saying to the defendant, “Your action is interfering with my enjoyment of my property; therefore, you must stop acting in that manner.”

The WV Senate agrees it is a nuisance, but not to the WV residents. Nuisance lawsuits are being viewed as a nuisance to the drilling corporations, factory farms, and other giant industries. The WV Senate is going to fix that problem by prohibiting Nuisance lawsuits.

WV Senators Ferns, Stollings, Kirkendoll, Blair, Carmichael, Mullins and Palumbo introduced Senate Bill 508 (SB508) on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

(Emphasis added) The purpose of this bill is to establish the standards applicable to the common law claim for private nuisance. The bill lists elements and establishes requirements including the requirement that physical property damage or bodily injury exist before a person can seek damages for a private nuisance. The bill also prohibits private nuisance claims if the activity at issue is conducted pursuant to and in compliance with a permit, license or other approval by a state or federal agency or other entity. The bill also requires a plaintiff to have either an ownership interest or possessory interest in the property at issue to have standing to bring a private nuisance claim.

SB508 will strip way West Virginians right to enjoy their property. Mining or Drilling operations disrupting your sleep? You won’t be able to sue.

Is a factory farm runoff or odors making you sick? You won’t be able to sue. Noise from a strip club next door too loud? You won’t be able to sue.

An industrial operation causing problems in your neighborhood? You won’t be able to sue.

Barking dogs from a Kennel business? If they have a municipal, state or federal permit – there won’t be anything you can do about it.

ALEC ORIGINS —

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing bill mill, has written far-reaching Right to Farm Act as one of its over 800 “model bills” that it encourages state legislators to pass. The bill would bar any lawsuits by neighbors claiming nuisance from any activities that are typical in farming, including industrial agriculture.

Although the ALEC “Right to Farm” bills pertain to industrial or factory farming, its purpose is to stop Nuisance lawsuits from being a nuisance to the industry.

Perhaps seeking to kill several pesky nuisance lawsuit issues in one blow, SB508 contains much broader language than just being “farm” specific. As long as any business or activity has a municipal, state or federal agency issued permit a nuisance lawsuit cannot be filed.

SB508 has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

West Virginians who wish to preserve their rights to enjoy their property must to take action now and stop SB508!

>>> Dory Hippauf became involved with the “fracking” issue when a landman came knocking on her door, instead of signing a lease she joined the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition and was soon the chair of the research committee. Although the research involved all aspects of Natural Gas activities, she has focused her personal time on “Connecting the Dots” of Corporations and Politicians. Dory was one of 3 winners of the 1st Annual FracTracker and Halt the Harm Environmental Stewardship award in Septmber 2015.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bob Schmetzer February 11, 2016 at 1:33 am

Everyone has property rights. They also have a right to keep government from abusing them. Having a few make the profit and everyone else accept the risk is wrong.

If you can call the police for a barking dog because you need your sleep to go to work the next day. Then you should also have police protection from a noisy, earth shaking, foul smelling, polluting industry that also keeps you from enjoying your property and sleep!

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