Actor Mark Ruffalo, an outspoken and longtime opponent of shale gas fracking who is in southwestern Pennsylvania to work on a movie, said lawsuit settlements that prevent those involved from discussing their problems are "un-American" and infringe on the public's need to know about drilling impacts that could damage human health and the environment.
During a break in shooting scenes in Washington County last week for the movie "Fair Hill Project," Mr. Ruffalo met privately with Stephanie Hallowich, a onetime anti-fracking activist. She has been silenced by a nondisclosure agreement contained in the August 2011 settlement of a civil lawsuit against Range Resources, MarkWest Energy Partners and Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream Partners, that claimed drilling operations around her family's farm in Mount Pleasant, Washington County, had harmed their health and property value.
"If the gas industry is safe as they claim, why are they trying to hide the stories of people exposed to it firsthand?" Mr. Ruffalo said. "She's bound by that nondisclosure agreement. But those agreements bear witness to what the rest of the population of that area should be privy to know. That information has been muted and hidden, and that is outrageous."
But Matt Pitzarella, a Range Resources spokesman, said the company stands behind previously publicized environmental, health and safety reviews that determined Range's operations didn't harm the Hallowiches.