Fracking company Gulfport Energy is suing the town of Barnesville, Ohio in order to use water from the town’s reservoir, Shale Play.
Gulfport Energy, a company already worth $600 million, filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The company says it should be allowed to use water from the town’s Slope Creek Reservoir during drilling operations. The Slope Creek Reservoir provides water to all 5,000 of Barnesville’s residents, as well as thousands of people in nearby towns.
According to Gulfport Energy, the town of Barnesville violated a contract it held with the company.
“Barnesville has frustrated Gulfport’s right to develop minerals under the mineral rights agreement by refusing to provide Gulfport with water in violation of Gulfport’s water rights,” company attorney O. Judson Scheaf stated.
Despite this claim made by Gulfport Energy, Barnesville officials said they cut off the company’s water usage because fracking nearly depleted the town’s water level.
“It’s been a tremendous source of concern for the community,” said Concerned Barnesville Area Residents spokesman David Castle. “We sent a petition signed by 2,500 people to Gulfport asking them to move their drilling pads farther away from the reservoir.”
Gulfport refused to move their operations, filing the lawsuit instead. In 2012, Barnesville officials signed an agreement with Gulfport stating that the company can use the town’s reservoir, charging one cent per gallon of water. One provision of the deal stated that the town could cut off Gulfport’s water usage if officials felt it endangered public health.
Officials believed that Gulfport’s water usage was dangerous, they cut off the water, and now Gulfport wants to sue. That’s how energy companies work: profits over people.