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Fire In the Well: Weatherford Couple Sues Range Over Nearby Gas Drilling

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Maybe you've seen the ads: On Wednesday we're co-sponsoring a special screening of Gasland at the Texas Theatre, which isn't the only movie we're screening next week. More about that later. But Josh Fox's Oscar-nominated film, as you probably know, features that now-infamous scene of a Colorado man being able to light his tap water, which oil-and-gas bizzers insist has nothing whatsoever do with nearby gas drilling, no sir, unh-unh. As former Dish mayor Calvin Tillman writes, "The natural gas industry keeps stating that the flaming water in Gasland was 'naturally occurring' methane."

Tillman, of course, doesn't buy it -- and neither do Steven and Shyla Lipsky, a Weatherford couple who, in 2004, bought 7.5 acres in Weatherford and spent the next five years and $4.5 million building their "dream home" in Parker County. But in 2010, they say, they discovered their well water was flammable -- due, they insist in legal docs filed earlier this week in Parker County District Court, to Range Production Company's fracking nearby. That, they say, wasn't part of the deal: They insist Silverado on the Brazos Development Co. told them a decade ago no oil or gas drilling would be allowed near the development. Only ... not so much.

The couple's Dallas and Fort Worth attorneys issued this release concerning the lawsuit against Range and Silverado on the Brazos earlier this week; it says the couple has "discovered that their well water contained benzene, toluene, ethane and a large amount of methane gas [and] due to the large amount of methane present, the well is no longer usable." Courthouse News has the docs, in which the couple's asking for $6.5 million.

Of course, the Environmental Protection Agency is already suing Range over water contamination from gas drilling in the Barnett Shale in Parker and Hood County.

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