Pa. Fracking Company Takes Blame for Contaminating Residents’ Drinking Water

No Contest Plea Finally Brings Some Justice to Residents from Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Historic Case Against Notorious Polluter


Climate and Energy

In a remarkable conclusion to an historic legal action against Cabot Oil & Gas, the company (now owned by Coterra Energy) pleaded no contest today to a crime related to the contamination and poisoning of drinking water due to fracking in Dimock, Pa. Additionally the company has agreed to pay $16.3 million for new water infrastructure and pay for clean water to impacted residents for 75 years. In June, 2020, Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed the charges against Cabot based on recommendations from a grand jury report.

Today’s events follow a complicated 14-year saga surrounding the original cases of water contamination in Dimock. The gas industry egregiously denied contaminating their water and attacked residents for years. Since then, thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies have demonstrated significant risks and harms from drilling and fracking, including water contamination, air pollution and severe public health impacts. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ultimately confirmed the water contamination in Dimock as well. 

“Dimock residents have known for 14 years that Cabot Oil & Gas is guilty of contaminating our water. Finally, some justice,” said Ray Kemble, a Dimock resident whose water was contaminated. “This case proves once and for all that drilling and fracking contaminated our drinking water. Now we need immediate relief in the form of water deliveries.”

“After more than a decade of glaring inaction from state and federal leaders, finally the people of Dimock have a measure of justice thanks to the work of Attorney General Shapiro. But countless other communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction in Pennsylvania and elsewhere will continue to suffer from the inherent health and safety risks of fracking until our country fully transitions to a clean, safe, renewable energy future,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Pennsylvania needs more action from Shapiro to rein in the oil and gas industry, and federal leaders must act to ensure that no American is subjected to continued poisoning, sickness and harm from drilling and fracking.”

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected]