Methane migration related to natural gas drilling has caused death, injuries and property damage in Pennsylvania, leading to plans for stronger regulations and enforcement efforts.

Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection called drilling industry officials to a meeting in Harrisburg earlier this month to urge care in preventing underground gas leaks that can cause catastrophes.

The warning, along with a plan being developed for stronger regulations, comes in the wake of more than 50 incidents documented by the DEP showing methane migration from drilling implicated in deaths, destruction and evacuations of homes.

A recent high-profile case involves the Carter Road area of Dimock, where methane migration linked to drilling caused one residential water well to explode and ruined the aquifer used by a dozen households, according to DEP records. Dimock represents one of more than 50 gas migration cases the DEP is tracking related to new drilling and abandoned wells. All involved dangerous and sometime fatal accumulations of gas in enclosed spaces.

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