Cabot Oil and Gas Company sues Dimock Township man for disparagement
MONTROSE, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WOLF) -- Cabot Oil and Gas Company argued in court Monday that Dimock Township resident Ray Kemble damaged their name and now owes them money.
Kemble was one of several residents who have spent a decade engaging the company over water contamination and gas fracking in their area.
"It's about the pollution, the air, our way of life. Before industry was here, this was all farm community. It's about the people, It's not just me," said Kemble after today's hearing.
The natural gas driller says Kemble breached the terms of his pre-existing settlement agreement from 2012 by speaking out against them.
Kemble filed another lawsuit earlier this year over alleged continued water pollution, which a lawyer for Cabot called "frivilous with evil motive," saying he recycled old claims.
A statement today from Cabot Spokesperson George Stark says:
Mr. Kemble agreed to a settlement with Cabot in exchange for money years ago. He has since breached the terms of that agreement on numerous occasions and continues to do so. Today's court actions are steps we must take to pursue justice.
"The court's now going to have to decide who breached, when did they breach and who has what obligations," said Kemble's attorney, Rich Raiders.
Kemble's lawyer equates this to a 'David and Goliath' story.
"A lot of it is Goliath acting out in a way that you would expect Goliath to behave, which is, 'you little David, you keep your place in line and that's as far as it goes," said Raiders.
Last year, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry did tests on the township's water and found there were elevated levels of some chemicals, including methane, arsenic and lead.
The Department of Environmental Protection has issued Cabot with 290 violations in Dimock Township alone since 2009, however none since December of 2016.
Ray Kemble still says his water is polluted.
Cabot's 2012 settlement agreement is sealed and Kemble has filed a motion to make it public.
The judge did not immediately rule in this case.
The initial $5 million dollars sought by Cabot was dropped in court, and their attorneys said they are now seeking 2017 damages and repayment for attorney fees.