A recent news article shows that an oil and gas boom from the south Texas Eagle Ford shale also has its costs, including water contamination and other environmental issues, Houston personal injury and property damage lawyer Kurt Arnold said today.
According to the Associated Press article published this week about the south Texas oil and gas boom, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — also called “fracking” — have created an economic frenzy similar to an Old West-style gold rush in communities around Cotulla, Texas, about 90 miles south of San Antonio.
“While the money and people pouring into these impoverished communities might seem like a good thing at first, experience elsewhere has shown that fracking operations have a very high price tag in terms of illnesses, injuries, reduced quality of life and environmental destruction,” said Arnold, a partner of the Houston law firm of Arnold & Itkin LLP.
Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of pressurized water mixed with sand and a chemical cocktail deep into underground shale formations. The mixture breaks up the rock, making oil and natural gas accessible.
Jason Itkin, also a Houston personal injury and property damage attorney with Arnold & Itkin, said that fracking poses several hazards to the community, including the withdrawal of millions of gallons of drinking water from the water table. He said contamination can also result from the chemicals infiltrating water sources that people use for cooking, cleaning and drinking.
“We have seen cases across the country where this toxic brew of chemicals seeps into the groundwater, making residents’ wells dangerous to drink from. Tap water has become so polluted with methane at some houses that people have set their water on fire,” Itkin said.
An April 2011 study released by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce evaluated some of the substances that companies have used in fracking.
The study identified 29 chemicals that it called “compounds of concern.” Some are proven or possible carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents, while the federal government has listed others as hazardous water or air pollutants.
“The companies that use these toxic substances must be held accountable when residents get sick with neurological, gastrointestinal, cancerous and other illnesses from exposure to tainted water,” said Arnold, the Houston personal injury lawyer.
He urged people to contact a qualified Texas attorney if they think that pollutants used in fracking have harmed them.
He also said companies that have polluted a landowner’s water sources or otherwise harmed their property should also seek legal counsel to make sure the companies pay for the property damage they have caused.
Men and women who work at the drilling sites are also vulnerable to injuries related to hydraulic fracturing. Gas and oil workers face well blowouts, explosions and fires, not to mention exposure to harmful chemicals, according to Arnold.
About Arnold & Itkin LLP
The Houston personal injury and property damage attorneys of Arnold & Itkin LLP are committed to helping Texans injured as the result of groundwater contamination and other issues caused by hydraulic fracturing and the extraction of natural gas and oil throughout the state of Texas, including San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Beaumont, Galveston, Corpus Christi, Baytown, Texas City and Port Arthur.
The law firm also represents Texas personal injury and wrongful death victims and their families in cases involving maritime injury, trucking accidents, medical injury, aviation crashes, industrial injury and defective products. H Texas Magazine has named the firm “Top Lawyers for the People” three years in a row. To learn more about the firm, call (877) 399-9820.