New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a landmark agreement with Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C. to allow over 4,400 landowners who were locked into unfavorable natural gas leases the opportunity to renegotiate with the energy corporation. Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma, is licensed to do business in New York State for natural gas exploration and extraction from lands in certain areas of the state. In addition, the Attorney General's agreement requires Chesapeake to pay the state $250,000 as reimbursement for the costs of the investigation.

"Make no mistake about it – this agreement will provide a safety net for thousands of landowners by allowing them the opportunity to negotiate fairer lease terms, both financial and environmental, regardless of their existing contracts. For landowners across the state, this deal literally will provide a new lease on life," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "My office will continue to stand up for the rights of the public in every corner of this state to ensure that New Yorkers have a fighting chance when they’re up against powerful interests.”

As part of today’s agreement with Attorney General Schneiderman, Chesapeake has agreed that landowners with leases that were extended as a result of the Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) environmental review into high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have the right to negotiate leases with other gas companies for more favorable environmental or financial terms. Chesapeake will either match those terms or release the landowners’ original lease. The agreement includes leases which have expired or will expire prior to Dec. 31, 2013.

Terms of the Attorney General's agreement with Chesapeake include:

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