Philadelphia associate Joe Kelleher was quoted in a Reactions article titled, “Fractious fracking.” The article discussed the United States’ experience with hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) and the potential implications of that experience for the United Kingdom.
Residents living in proximity to fracking operations have reported issues, including tap water that smells like gas or that can be set on fire. Joe commented, offering suggestions on ways to deal with potential issues that arise from fracking. “It has been suggested that one way to deal with potential evidentiary issues that might arise would be to take baseline readings of things that might be affected by fracking, such as residents’ water supply before the shale gas extraction begins,” he said. “In theory, if a resident could show that the gas content of his or her water supply has increased by x% since fracking activities began, it might be more difficult for fracking companies to argue that the water was always like that.”
Joe commented on claims that have been filed as well the early stages of case law relating to fracking. “There have been a number of personal injury cases filed against the fracking companies,” said Joe. “These claims were originally focused primarily around water issues, but we are starting to see more complaints being filed around earthquake issues. But from a coverage litigation perspective, we are very much at the beginning. There just haven’t been very many insurance coverage cases arising out of fracking activities. The development of the case law is in its infancy.”