Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Oklahoma Supreme Court to hear homeowner's suit against oil companies for earthquake damage

An Oklahoma homeowner's lawsuit claiming two oil companies are responsible for an earthquake that damaged her home will go before the state Supreme Court in a case that could set the precedent for future earthquake claims, Ziva Branstetter reports for Tulsa World. "An attorney for one of the companies has said the lawsuit, if successful, would cause energy companies to abandon wastewater disposal wells across the state."

In 2014, Oklahoma led the lower 48 states in earthquakes with 564 of magnitude 3 or higher, compared to only 100 in 2013. Some state and local officials have publicly acknowledged that the surge in earthquakes is linked to the oil and gas industry's use of injection wells for wastewater.

Sandra Ladra of Prague is suing New Dominion LLC, a Tulsa-based oil and gas company, and Spess Oil Co., based in Cleveland, Okla. for damage from a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in 2011 "alleging the companies operated wastewater disposal wells that triggered" the earthquake near Prague, Branstetter writes. New Dominion attorney Robert Gum told a Lincoln County judge during a hearing in October, “These wells will become economic and legal-liability pariahs." (Read more)

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