From Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front
It didn't take long for the residents of Finleyville who lived near the fracking operations to complain – about the noise and air quality, and what they regarded as threats to their health and quality of life. Initially, EQT, one of the largest producers of natural gas in Pennsylvania, tried to allay concerns with promises of noise studies and offers of vouchers so residents could stay in hotels to avoid the noise and fumes.
...it is unlikely that companies will start handing out such agreements en masse, [as]..doing so could decrease landowners' confidence about the safety of the company's operations and their personal health. "People are going to say the gas companies must be concerned about air pollution because they're offering these easements," said Clark. "Everybody's going to get suspicious."
Earlier this year, a couple in Texas was awarded $3 million in a lawsuit against a gas drilling company. The couple alleged that the company's operations had affected their health, decreased their property value and forced them to move away. The case was one of the first successful lawsuits alleging that air pollution from gas drilling activity caused health issues.
..some of the residents have refused to negotiate with the company.
"I was insulted," said Gary Baumgardner, who was approached by EQT with the offer in January. "We're being pushed out of our home and they want to insult us with this offer."
Baumgardner says his house is like an amphitheater, constantly vibrating from the drilling. At times the noise gets up to 75 decibels, equivalent to a running vacuum cleaner, he said.
Earlier this year, EQT Corp. put up a sound barrier to limit the noise, but Baumgardner says it has made little difference to his quality of life.
"We took the pictures down in the bedroom because they still vibrate at night," he said.
Baumgardner says he has had to leave his house at least three times so far because the gas fumes from the well site were too much to bear. A local health group has installed air quality monitors in his home and several of his neighbors.
Last year when the one of the monitors began flashing red, his daughter, pregnant at the time, fled the house. She has since moved away after her doctor advised her not to live close to a drilling site.
"Our house is most often not livable," said Baumgardner. EQT's response to his complaints, he said, has been "constant dismissals, excuses, delays and broken promises."