Pennsylvania families win $4.24M verdict against gas driller

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – A federal jury has awarded two couples nearly $4.25 million after finding one of the largest natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania polluted their well water.

The verdict Thursday comes at the end of a bitter and long-running federal lawsuit pitting homeowners in the village of Dimock against Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.

Dimock was the scene of the most highly publicized case of methane contamination to emerge from the early days of Pennsylvania’s natural-gas drilling boom. State regulators blamed faulty gas wells drilled by Cabot for leaking combustible methane into Dimock’s groundwater. Cabot claimed the methane was naturally occurring.

The rural community became a national battleground in environmental activists’ fight against fracking, and its plight was featured in the Emmy-winning 2010 documentary “Gasland.”