Property Contamination Attorneys
Representing Landowners in Louisiana, Texas & Nationwide
While oil and gas exploration and drilling companies can create an economic boom in the regions they tap into for profits by creating jobs, supporting businesses, and leasing or purchasing property, these oil and gas operations have a dark side. When oil companies decide to use your land for oil drilling or natural gas extraction, they have a responsibility to do so in accordance with environmental standards. Unfortunately, many drillers have not abided by these standards, leaving behind dangerous chemicals, contaminated groundwater, and abandoned equipment.
Our skilled litigators are experienced with handling property contamination cases. Call (888) 493-1629 today!
We help clients with scarred land and poisoned wells recover lost value, giving them the resources to restore their land or relocate. If your property was damaged by the work of a reckless corporation, our understanding of these cases makes us uniquely suited to restoring your land and your family’s safety.
Other reasons you can trust our firm to represent your cause:
- We have recovered billions in verdicts and settlements.
- Our verdicts have set award records across the nation.
- We have hundreds of cases’ worth of experience.
Arnold & Itkin has years of experience successfully taking on large oil and gas corporations. Schedule a free consultation with us to see what we can do for you.
Poisoning Land & Water with Fracking
The chief controversy of natural gas extraction in recent years is the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The Haynesville Shale in Louisiana and Eagle Ford Shale in Texas in particular have made the practice relevant to homeowners throughout the South.
Fracking is a way for companies to reach deposits that are otherwise inaccessible.
It works by drilling (horizontally) inside the shale, where the natural gas is located. Once a well is drilled, a sand and water mixture is injected into the well at high pressures, fracturing the shale so gas is released. The pressure from the injection also forces the gas up the well, where it can be processed. Fracking has become controversial around the nation, opposed by environmental activists for its dangerous effects. Destabilizing the shale has allegedly led to earth tremors, while releasing gases into the surrounding layers—including groundwater.
Access to safe water is a human right. Many homeowners have been forced to purchase potable water every week instead of using the natural sources they once had valuable access to.
In fact, in 2013 the EPA had a presentation based on its own studies that tied fracking to groundwater contamination. The presentation was censored and abandoned, but it was recently leaked. It revealed significant amounts of methane are released during fracking that migrates into nearby water sources. Alarmingly, the released methane is not necessarily from the drilled shale—this indicates that fracking has consequences that drillers are either unable to predict or unwilling to report. Other studies assert the issue is the cementing process.
Property Destroyed by Fracking Contamination? We Can Help.
Oil and gas companies may scar a landscape with ruts, trenches, slush pits, and mud pits. They may leave behind drilling rigs, wells, compressor stations, and pipelines. The waste produced by their operations may also contain harmful metals, salts, hydrocarbons, and toxic chemicals.
A Congressional committee has evaluated substances that companies have used in fracking and identified what it called 29 "compounds of concern." Some are proven or possible cancer-causing agents, while the federal government has listed others as hazardous pollutants.
Depending on the activities of the corporations, vegetables can be poisoned, the soil can lose its fertility and the water supply can become toxic. We remain committed to ensuring that we compensate residents in the area as well as landowners. Our litigation also focuses on restoring the damaged property and ceasing from future harm.
What Damages Can I Recover After Property Contamination?
The measurement of damages in a property contamination lawsuit will vary from case to case. It will depend on the types of claims alleged and the specific environmental damage that has occurred. For instance, the lawsuit may assert claims under state and federal laws that define the damages available, or it may seek relief through contract law, such as breach of contract, or through tort law, such as a claim of trespassing.
The factors involved in the determination of damage may include:
- The extent of air, water, and soil pollution caused by the oilfield or fracking operations.
- The historical use of the property.
- The loss in the property's fair market value.
- The reasonable cost of cleaning up the property and restoring its condition, if restoration is possible.
An investigation will take place in which it will be determined if land remediation is necessary. If an examination of the property takes place and it fails to meet the current property standards for that area, then a remediation agreement will be entered into in which the company is responsible for restoring the property to the way it was before their company commenced operations on it. After the cleanup, the land will most likely be maintained as well, to make sure the condition does not worsen after cleanup and that the situation does not happen again.
In the worst-case scenarios, property values can be lowered, the inhabitants of the property may become ill because of exposure to toxic chemicals left on (in which case they would need compensation for their medical treatment), and the land may become sterile due to chemicals and other drilling operations. The property owners may have made their living from their properties, so if the property damage is this severe, the property will have to be restored if possible and the inhabitants compensated for the wages they lost as a result of contaminated land.
Property Contamination FAQ
What Damages Can I Recover in a Property Contamination Cases?
The compensation you are owed for your contaminated property can include multiple costs, depending on the situation. You will be entitled to the loss in fair market value caused by the contamination, which would pay you the difference in price if you sold your land in its current state vs. if you sold it without any defects. You may also be entitled to the cost of rehabilitating and restoring the property, if you’d like to keep it. A remediation plan will determine how much labor and resources would be needed to fix your property.
What’s a Remediation Plan?
A remediation plan is a plan to reverse or heal the environmental damage caused by oil drilling or hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). Remediation plans usually bring together independent industry experts and environmental scientists. Creating a remediation plan is a costly process on its own, usually involving extensive information gathering and on-site surveys.
What Types of Contamination Do Oil Companies Cause?
Oil drilling generates a great deal of waste and equipment, but the main footprint oil operations leave behind is a literal footprint: ruts, slush pits, trenches, mud pits, etc. The longest-lasting contamination from oil operations leaves metals, salts, and toxic waste in the local water supply, rendering a vital resources unusable for generations.
Why You Can Trust Us If You're Suffering Private Land Damage
At Arnold & Itkin, we help landowners recover damages from oil and gas companies for environmental damage and fracking contamination to their properties. These cases are commonly known as "legacy litigation," because they often involve claims that stem from corporate malfeasance that has occurred over a period of several decades and involve land that has been in a family's name for generations.
Studies by Duke University economists found that residents near the sites of oil drilling or fracking lost 24% of their property’s value. When corporations behave recklessly, innocent homeowners suffer the consequences. Your home’s property should be protected by your community, your government, and the companies who lease the land around you. When they fail to do that, we will respond on your behalf.
The purpose of litigation is to:
- Compensate the landowners or area residents for the harm they've suffered;
- Restore the contaminated property to an acceptable condition; and
- Protect the region from any possible future harm caused by the contamination.
At our firm, we work with experts who can help us to determine the level of contamination caused by oilfield and fracking operations. These experts are then able to arrive at fair estimates of what it will take to compensate those who have been harmed and to clean up their property (commonly called a "remediation plan"). With this testimony, our attorneys demand the compensation you need.
If your land was left damaged by a drilling company, or your home lost its value, contact Arnold & Itkin today.