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Landowners getting trampled in gas rights rush
|CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Unsuspecting property owners around the country are getting trampled in an old-fashioned land rush by natural gas companies and speculators trying to lock up long-ignored drilling rights quickly and cheaply. |
Stories of fast-talking industry representatives using scare tactics to strong-arm people into signing lowball leases are popping up in rural areas and suburbs from New York to West Virginia to parts of Indiana and Texas. All sit atop largely untapped natural gas deposits made suddenly viable — and valuable — by soaring prices and improved drilling techniques.
"That original speech that guy makes to the rural property owners, it hasn't changed much in 100 years," Rodgers said. And like Castle, Rodgers said landmen often warned that homeowners risked getting nothing if they didn't sign. "These landmen do lie. They do exaggerate."
Gas companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. make no bones about their desire to lock up leasing rights. The Oklahoma City-based natural gas giant calls its aggressive lease acquisition program the "land grab" in its latest annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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posted by CITIZEN POWER ALLIANCE at 12:39 PM - permanent link
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