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Gas drilling accident settles for PA man's estate

The shale gas drilling explosion from last February in which a 27-year-old contracted worker and future father was killed has been settled. The explosion, which happened in February 2014 in Dunkard, Greene County, PA, killed the man as he and another worker were rushing toward the blast area after hearing a loud hissing noise. The man worked for Cameron International Corporation, a company contracted by Chevron to work the well site. The victim, who was from Warren, PA, has had an estate set up for his son. The victim died before his boy was born.

In a statement after the settlement, a person from Chevron told the media that the $5 million gas drilling accident settlement brings closure to the situation and "enables all parties to move forward." The spokesperson said, "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family." Chevron went on to say that "Protecting people and the environment is a core value...and we are determined to prevent...this from happening again."

Pennsylvania state regulators said that another Chevron-contracted employee loosened a bolt without proper direction, causing the well to begin to leak from that loosened bolt and eventually exploding. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) says that there wasn't enough Chevron oversight at the site when the accident occurred. The DEP also contends that Chevron did not communicate well with Pennsylvania authorities after the accident. The DEP signed a separate settlement last week in which it agreed to pay $939,500 will be paid because of ten violations to the Oil and Gas Act.

Last year, the DEP said that Chevron failed to prevent the explosion, caused a public nuisance, and allowed an unreasonable amount of toxins to leak from the well after the fire. The DEP also said that Chevron would not allow authorities access to the scene of the accident for more than a day after the fire, which violates permits and laws. Separately, OSHA found that the cause of the fire was unable to be determined in August 2014; OSHA did not issue any citations or levy any fines.

If you have questions about workers' compensation or wrongful death that results from a Marcellus shale gas explosion, call the Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers at Gismondi & Associates today for a free consultation at 412-281-2200.

Source: TribLive.com, "Chevron settles fatal shale gas well fire lawsuit for $5M" 28 May 2015

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