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In May 2012, Hanson and Michael Rowe noticed an overpowering smell, like rotten eggs, seeping from an abandoned gas well on their land in Kentucky. The fumes made the retired couple feel nauseous, dizzy and short of breath.

Regulators responding to the leak couldn’t find an owner to fix it. J.D. Carty Resources LLC had drilled the well near the Rowes’ home in 2006 — promising the family a 12.5 percent royalty and free natural gas, which they never got. But Carty went bust in 2008 and sold the site to a company that was later acquired by Blue Energy LLC. Lawyers for both companies deny any responsibility for the leak.

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