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Fracking Issues in Oil and Gas Production

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of removing oil and gas from shale by pumping high-pressure liquid, chemicals and sand into the rock to open it up so that the oil or gas can be extracted. Several Texas cities tried to prevent this method of obtaining oil and gas from shale deposits, citing pollution concerns.

Fracking Bans Complicate Oil and Gas Landscape

Fracking, an oil production process that involves injecting pressurized water, sand and chemicals to break up shale rocks underground to release gas and oil, has been responsible for oil and gas booms in Texas and other states where shale oil exists. However, fracking also appears to cause earthquakes and to possibly contaminate ground water, making it a controversial process in many parts of the country. Residents say that odors from the process create health problems.

The Price of Oil and Gas is Much Higher than We Ever Imagined

Oil and Gas workers are subject to some of the most hazardous industrial conditions in the U.S., and serious injuries and fatalities often occur from oil and gas accidents. In January of this year, NPR reported that accidents among workers in the industry are on the rise. From 2009 to 2012 the industry added 23 percent more workers, "[b]ut the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job - an increase of more than 100 percent since 2009," wrote Andrew Schneider and Marilyn Geewax for NPR. "In fact, the fatality rate among oil and gas workers in now nearly eight times higher than the all-industry rate of 3.2 deaths for every 100,000 workers."

Fracking Wastewater Likely Causing Oklahoma Earthquakes

A recent study from Cornell University has determined that pumping wastewater from natural gas drilling sites into wells buried deep underground is probably why Oklahoma is experiencing more small earthquakes than California. The study says hydraulic fracturing for gas cannot be directly linked to increased seismic activity, but the injection of wastewater from drilling at disposal sites creates fluid pressure below the surface that can trigger earthquakes. The lead author of the study is Katie Keranen, an assistant professor of seismology at Corfnell University in New York.

Data Shows Connection Between Fracking and Methane in Well

For the past two years, residents of Parker County have experienced eruptions of flames shooting from their water wells as a result of dangerous levels of methane gas traveling into their water supply. Barnett Shale gas producers have claimed zero connection to their gas and oil operations, but a pair of scientists are now disputing this. This new connection has been made based on test results released by state regulators providing a direct connection to the fracking and groundwater contamination.

Texas Slated To Become 8th Largest Oil Producer In The World

The Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin have served as the backdrop to many million-dollar stories in Southwest Texas. Fracking technologies have given oil and gas companies access to the large stores of natural gas and oil deep below Texas' surface. Land that once would have sold for a couple thousand dollars an acre is now selling for much more than that or being leased to oil and gas companies in return for monthly royalty checks.

EPA Steps Up Regulation Of California Fracking

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking small steps to oversee the safety of the booming fracking industry. Companies who engage in hydraulic fracturing in the waters off the coast of Southern California will be required to report, beginning March 1, if they dump chemicals into the ocean. But, there's a catch. The rule only applies to new drilling jobs; existing rigs will be grandfathered in under the new rule and are exempt from the reporting requirements.

Fracking Sites Create Pollution, Headaches For Denton Residents

Just north of Dallas, the city of Denton, Texas thought it was taking steps to protect its citizens and their property from the side effects of fracking and the shale oil boom by passing an ordinance prohibiting the building of wells within 1200 feet of a home. However, the ordinance grandfathered in existing wells and some of these are within a 200-foot radius of some residents' front doors. The city referred to these sites as having "vested rights."

Study Offers Insight into Health Effects of Fracking

As reported by the Associated Press, the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project has been attempting to help people who feel they have been sickened by natural gas drilling or processing for about 18 months in a southern Pittsburgh county where nearly 700 natural gas wells have been drilled in the past six years. The study conducted, although not a full survey of the area, did uncover 27 cases in which people in Washington County believed they were hurt by nearby drilling. These injuries included skin rashes, eye irritation, breathing problems, headaches, and dizziness. These findings challenge the industry position that no one suffers but also suggests the issue may not be as wide spread as some critics claim.

Eagle Ford Drilling Linked To Air Contamination In San Antonio

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to set air quality standards pursuant to the Clean Air Act. For ozone, the EPA has set the standard for ambient air at 75 parts per billion (ppb). San Antonio registers an ozone level as high as 87 ppb, well over the EPA's set limit.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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