November 28, 2017
A Texas appellate court said no to attempts by an environmental scientist for a $30 million sanction against Range Resources Inc. in a case that made national headlines years ago.
A previous $3 million lawsuit filed by Range was dismissed, against a man who said he could use a charcoal lighter to set fire to the stream flowing from his Weatherford-area groundwater well because Barnett Shale fracking by Range had allowed a large amount of methane to migrate to it.
The story formed a portion of the 2013 anti-fracking film, “Gasland Part II.”
There were claims, notably by some recounted in The Washington Examiner and in the Washington Free Beacon, that setting fire to the water was a deception.
Others such as DeSmog Blog insist it was not.
Range maintained that it was not responsible for the well contamination, and state regulators agreed.
Range’s defamation claims, however, were dismissed under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA).
A toxicologist hired by the well owners, Alisa Rich, was awarded about $470,000 in attorneys’ fees after being named in the dismissed lawsuit; she then counter-argued that the TCPA also mandates sanctions against Range.
The appellate court disagreed.