Fri July 13, 2012
Nationwide will not cover fracking damage
Columbus-based Nationwide has become the first major insurance company to say it will not cover damage related to the natural gas drilling technique called fracking. Spokesperson Nancy Smeltzer says the company's personal and commercial policies "were not designed to cover" risk from fracking. Smeltzer says says the risk applies to policies of commercial contractors and landowners who lease property to gas companies. Meanwhile a new U.S. Department of Energy study may provide some of the first solid answers to the question of whether drilling fluids from fracking migrate and pose a threat to drinking water. Department spokesperson Richard Hammack says a drilling company in southwestern Pennsylvania is allowing researchers to add tracing compounds to the fluids, to see if they move upward or sideways from the well bottom. Environmentalists and the U.S. EPA say the fluids can rise and pollute shallow drinking water aquifers. Ohio law now allows for fracking in parks and on other state-owned lands.