Pittsburgh-Area Family Settles Lawsuit Over Marcellus Shale


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Stephanie and Chris Hallowich have agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging their health was harmed by air pollution and water contamination from Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations adjacent to their 10-acre farm in Washington County, Pa.

The terms of the deal with Range Resources, Mark West Energy Partners and Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream Partners were sealed this week and a gag order was imposed, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The Hallowiches, vocal critics of natural gas drillers, built their house in 2007. Soon afterward, four Marcellus wells, access roads, a processing facility, compressor stations and a 3-acre holding pond were installed on properties bordering theirs. Because of the noise, lights and emissions from those industrial facilities, the Hallowiches allege their property had become worthless.

Over the next few years, the Hallowiches complained that their well water supply had been contaminated and that their two children, Nathan and Allison, had been exposed to volatile organic compounds from the drilling operations in the water and air.

The family had given numerous media interviews complaining that water tests found ethylbenzene, toluene, styrene and tetrachloroethylene -- all cancer-causing organic compounds. They said the air and water contaminants caused them to experience burning eyes, sore throats, headaches and earaches.

They've had to pay about $500 a month to have water delivered to the farm.

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