at the Citizen Power Alliance 2010 Wind Conference
Landowners looking for legal options to fight energy companies
|As energy companies attempt to extend some oil and gas leases because of New York's hydraulic fracturing moratorium, local law firms are trying to assemble groups of landowners to fight those claims in federal court.|
Hundreds of local landowners have received letters from natural gas companies over the past two years claiming "force majeure" on their expiring leases, many of which are a decade old and signed for just a few dollars per acre.
Force majeure, a legal clause in some contracts, allows for the lease to be extended if an unforeseen event prevents either side from upholding the terms of the agreement.
"Some of these leases are 10 years old and signed at a time when Chesapeake and other companies had no idea they would be drilling in the Marcellus Shale," Kurkoski said. "We've been sending letters back and forth with Chesapeake for over a year, and it's clear that we're not getting anywhere. It's clear that landowners have to assert their rights to get this to stop."
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