Drilling health lawsuit revived in W. Colorado

DENVER — A judge has ruled that a western Colorado family can proceed with a lawsuit claiming oil and gas drilling activities contaminated their drinking water and air and forced them from their home.

Bill and Beth Strudley filed the lawsuit in 2011 against Denver-based Antero Resources gas drilling company and two of its contractors, The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent reported today.

The Colorado Court of Appeals said Wednesday that the Strudleys’ suit was wrongly dismissed last year by a lower court that said the Strudleys hadn’t provided enough evidence to support their claims involving their home in Silt Mesa.

The Denver District Court had ordered the Strudleys to produce affidavits showing exactly which chemicals had poisoned the air, water and ground along with “each and every study, report and analysis that contains any finding of contamination on plaintiffs’ property.”

The Strudleys provided the court with some evidence, but the court found it wasn’t adequate.

Frick, however, said the Strudleys were correct when they argued that the trial court’s decision prevented them from proving their claims because it “interfered with the full truth-seeking purpose of discovery.”

Frick’s order will send the case back to the trial court. Antero vice president Alvyn Schopp said today that the company was disappointed in the ruling but believes it will ultimately prevail in the Strudley case.

“We still don’t believe that the case has any merits, that the facts will bear that out,” Schopp said.


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