Neighbors say Cabot not telling whole story
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Craig Sautner was attending a gas drilling awareness forum in the southern tier of New York recently, when one of his alleged neighbors from Dimock Township shouted at him that he had no business continuing to protest against Marcellus gas interests.
“I know you’ve already gotten a check for $265,000 from Cabot as part of the settlement that kept the pipeline from going through, and you should just shut up,” Sautner said he was told.
His response: “Oh, really. I’ve never seen any check.”
Last week, George Stark, external relations director for Cabot Oil & Gas, confirmed that since a settlement agreement was reached 90 days ago between Cabot and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, six persons have been paid out of a $4.1 million escrow account that was created to take care of people whose groundwater supplies were contaminated.
None of the 14 persons who initially brought a lawsuit against Cabot are among those six, however.
“The people who got paid were the ones that were already friends with Cabot,” Sautner said. “What does that tell you?”
Attorney Marc Bern of the New York law firm of Napoli Bern Ripka which is now representing the 14 families along Carter Road who brought the original lawsuit against Cabot back in 2009 for contaminating their water supply said “My clients are 100 percent united in continuing the fight against Cabot.”
He added, “As a result of their negligence, my clients are denied fresh water which everyone else in the Commonwealth gets.”
What was worked out in the way of a pipeline to Montrose, he said, was the only workable solution to a bad situation.
He called Cabot’s offer of three months ago “a PR gimmick- in reality an attempt to resolve the case as a nuisance rather than deal with the real dangers that these families face on a daily basis.”
“They have been trying to get the plaintiffs in this case to jump at a sum of money, and it just didn’t work,” Bern said.
“We will continue to fight in the courts until these good, honest, folks are properly compensated for what they’ve been put through.”