Chesapeake and at least one other gas company have sent similar letters to thousands of landowners across Central New York and the Southern Tier in the past two months.

The letters have the effect of unilaterally extending leases that many landowners were looking forward to ending. Some landowners have had second thoughts since signing the leases or believe they can get a better deal than they did five years ago when the lease rush began in earnest.

The gas companies say they have the right to extend the leases for months or years because the state’s delay in approving drilling in the deep Marcellus shale has prevented them from drilling.

The state attorney general’s office said it’s reviewing the letters. In 2009, then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo fined another energy company $192,500 for sending similar letters. Cuomo is now governor.

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