The Pennsylvania Superior Court has dismissed an appeal by MarkWest Energy Partners of an August court order that unsealed a previously confidential agreement settling claims by a Washington County family its health and property were damaged by nearby shale gas development.
The appellate court's two-sentence order Tuesday granted requests by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Washington Observer-Reporter, which had sought to unseal the 2-year-old court documents.
The court dismissed the appeal as "moot" because the terms of the 17-page agreement between the Hallowich family and MarkWest, Range Resources Corp. and Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream, were unsealed and made public shortly after the order was issued by Washington County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Debbie O'Dell-Seneca.
The agreement includes information about the Hallowiches' payoff of $750,000, about the lifetime bans on what Stephanie and Chris Hallowich and their two minor children can say about shale gas development, and also restricts them from living near any existing natural gas lease involving the companies.
The settlement also required the Hallowiches to move from the 10-acre farm in Mount Pleasant, Washington County, and included language stating they had no health impacts from the natural gas drilling near the property, but outlines procedures for addressing future medical problems if they should occur.
First Published October 11, 2013 8:00 PM