On Sunday morning, July 7, 2013, an explosion occurred at a hydraulic fracturing
operation in Doddridge County, West Virginia, near the community of New
Milton. At least five people were injured in the blast. Four workers at
the well site suffered what authorities called potentially life-threatening burns.
Authorities and Colorado-based Antero Resources, the owner of the well,
are investigating the cause of the explosion. It appears that the explosion
occurred at one of the tanks that holds water and chemicals used in the
fracturing, or "fracking," process. As part of that process,
water is pumped into the ground to maintain the fractures through which
oil and gas are collected. After fluid is used in fracturing, it returns
to holding tanks like the one at which Sunday's blast occurred.
Since last October, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
has cited Antero for at least ten regulatory violations. The WVDEP maintains
a searchable database of such violations here. (http://www.dep.wv.gov/oil-and-gas/databaseinfo/Pages/OGD.aspx).
Sunday's accident follows on the heels of a fire this April at a natural
gas facility near the town of Wick, in Tyler County, West Virginia, in
which four people were injured, two fatally. These incidents highlight
the continued tension between fracking's economic benefits and safety
and environmental concerns about the process.
Having represented workers involved in drilling and industrial accidents
for over 30 years, Hartley & O'Brien believes that shortcuts are
no way to conduct a drilling operation, and that workers deserve a safe
work environment. We stand ready to assist workers hurt as a result of
unsafe drilling and fracking operations. If you or someone in your family
has been injured in a drilling or fracking accident, please contact
Hartley & O'Brien today to arrange a consultation.