Posts Tagged ‘lawyer’

Towns get legal advice on gas issues

A lawyer offers sample laws to Back Mountain towns concerned about drilling.

By Rebecca
Staff Writer

DALLAS TWP. – The Back Mountain Community Partnership was advised Thursday afternoon to separately pass ordinances that may help protect against gas drilling issues.

The partnership is an intermunicipal group composed of Dallas, Franklin, Jackson, Kingston and Lehman townships and Dallas borough.

Attorney Jeffrey Malak, who is solicitor of the group, explained it would be better for each municipality to enact its own ordinances rather than to pass joint partnership ordinances because each municipality has its own unique needs.

Malak provided an example of an ordinance, created by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Solicitors, which addresses height regulations of equipment, setbacks, access roads, wells, tanks and storage.

He also furnished sample dust, noise and light pollution ordinances and a sample road bond agreement. In addition, he provided a copy of Dallas’ zoning ordinance, which restricts drilling to certain areas of the borough and deals with screening and buffering and outdoor lighting issues.

Malak said such ordinances would take in all types of businesses but cannot be specific to natural gas drilling because the Oil and Gas Act of 1984 specifies the state oversees drilling. He stressed a lot of ordinances can be incorporated to help and that the municipalities are not limited to revising their zoning laws.

“We don’t know what’s allowed, what’s not, until we try some different things&hellip.” Malak said. “It’s a very, very complicated issue and like I said, it’s not a one size fits all.”

In other news, Tom Yoniski, a representative for state Sen. Lisa Baker, announced the senator’s office has arranged a meeting regarding gas drilling to be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on May 13 at Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School.

Yoniski said Penn State University officials will give a presentation on gas drilling. He said that officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission will also attend.

Also, Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition members Karen Belli and Leeanne Mazurick, both of Dallas Township, gave a brief presentation on gas drilling and its impacts on the environment and the community.

Coalition member Audrey Simpson, of Kingston Township, showed a video she created of Dimock Township residents who were negatively affected by gas drilling.

Copyright: Times Leader

Drilling plan includes recycling

By Rory
Staff Writer

TUNKHANNOCK – As if responding to previous community criticism about a similar facility, company officials hoping to build a drilling-waste treatment plant near Meshoppen said Tuesday recycling water is part of their plans.

“It makes sense to reuse this water,” said Ron Schlicher, an engineer consulting for the treatment company. “The goal here is to strive for 100-percent reuse, so we don’t have to discharge.”

Wyoming Somerset Regional Water Resources Corp. is proposing a facility in Lemon Township in Wyoming County to treat water contaminated during natural-gas drilling in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

To do so, it requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

That process includes a period of public comment, for which the hearing at the Tunkhannock Middle School on Tuesday evening was held.

Wyoming Somerset is the second company to propose such a facility in Wyoming County. Two weeks ago, DEP held a similar hearing for North Branch Processing LLC, which wants to build a plant just outside Tunkhannock in Eaton Township to discharge up to 500,000 gallons daily of the treated waste into the Susquehanna River.

Citizens attending that hearing complained that the discharges could potentially harm the river’s ecology and suggested that the waste simply be recycled into other fracking jobs.

Wyoming Somerset’s proposal is to discharge up to 380,000 gallons daily into the Meshoppen Creek, but company officials said they hoped to sell it all back to drillers instead.

“The discharges need to be in place to make sure that the weather doesn’t have an adverse effect on operations of cleaning the water,” said Larry Mostoller, Wyoming Somerset’s president. “I’ll be willing to drink what we produce. I’ll be willing to drink what comes out of this plant, and you can hold me to that.”

That promise and the vague goal of full reuse didn’t sit well with the roughly 75 citizens who attended the hearing. Questioning everything from why the facility couldn’t guarantee zero discharges to its proposed site, residents came out squarely against the plan.

Many non-residents joined them, including two from Bucks County, one an environmental scientist and the other a lawyer, and a man from New Jersey.

Don Williams, a Susquehanna River advocate from Lycoming County, warned that cashing in on the gas-laden Marcellus Shale is “jeopardizing our land and our feature for the false promise of jobs” and money.

Of particular frustration for many were the unknown details about the plant’s design. Schlicher presented an overview of it, noting reverse-osmosis filters, evaporation tanks and a three-tiered output to provide drillers with water at various levels of treatment.

The water that could potentially be discharged would be “essentially meeting drinking water standards for most things,” Schlicher said, but not everything, including lead, aluminum and iron “because the surface water body can handle them,” he said.

Design specifics won’t be known until the second part of the application, when the company proposes how it will meet its discharge limits. That part likely won’t have a public hearing, DEP officials noted.

Those wishing to comment on the proposed facility may do so until Oct. 30 by contacting the DEP. The number for its Wilkes-Barre office is (570) 826-2511.

Copyright: Times Leader

Gas-lease tips offered before you sign up

Area group advises residents to be patient, don’t agree to low rates offered by drillers.

By Rory
Staff Writer

ROSS TWP. – Gas-lease offers might be low, thanks to a lagging economy, but that’s not stopping drillers from proposing them.

Three gas companies are speaking with landowners in Luzerne County, and a fourth – Denver-based Whitmar Exploration Company – is covering leases, according to members of the South West Ross Township Property Group.

“Right now, they’re picking all this low-hanging fruit,” said Ken Long, a member of the group’s executive committee. “People are panicking to sign leases … because they want to get this monkey off their back.”

The in-depth, confusing and potentially disastrous decisions involved with signing a lease weigh on people, he said, and with offers crashing from one-time highs in the thousands of dollars per acre to Whitmar’s current $12.50 per acre, some landowners are eager to get whatever benefit they can and move on.

That, the committee warns, would be a mistake. “It’s not just going to be for today,” said Marge Bogdon, a member of the committee. “If you’re going to hurt your children or your grandchildren by signing a lease today, that’s bad.”

That’s why the committee has decided not to recommend Whitmar’s offer to their members and crafted 10 questions it says will combat “gas-rush fever.”

A large part of the rush is created, they say, by owners afraid they’ll miss out on everything if they don’t sign for peanuts now. Add to that pressure sales tactics levied by the companies, and the committee members foresee an ominous formula for rash, uninformed decision-making. They cite as example a recent missive from Conservation Services, the land-acquisition company employed by Whitmar. Announcing two meetings during which leases could be signed, the letter gave landowners six days to join before the offer was closed. Committee members said they received the notices with only about four days to decide. “If you only have two days to sign a lease, you can’t get a lawyer to look it over,” Bogdon warned.

Mark Stransky, another member of the committee, said he stopped by one of the signing meetings and found it “lightly but steadily attended.” Whitmar’s offer, as presented to the committee, was $12.50 per acre for the first two years, and the company would have the option to drop the lease after each year. In the third year, the company would pay a one-time bonus of $2,500 per acre to lease the land for the next four years.

“People are wondering if this is the only game in town,” Stransky said.

But the truth, the committee contends, is that lease offers will increase, not dry up, as the economy re-emerges, and that companies are likely cashing in on economic fears to score discounted leases. “You can lease with just about anybody,” Long said. “They’re taking everything they can at a really cheap price.”

“They’re coming out of the woodwork now with the Marcellus gas being proven,” Stransky said.

Near the beginning of the year, the group represented roughly 10,000 acres around Ross Township, but the committee members figured they’ve added on several thousand since then. They stress membership is nonbinding, and that landowners can opt out by writing a letter and waiting 10 days.

Though they receive no compensation for their efforts, they’re rewarded, the committee members say, by preventing their community from being spoiled. “If we weren’t part of this community, we wouldn’t be so concerned,” Bogdon said. “This is our home.”

And while they bear no animosity toward the drillers and landmen for their pushiness – “They’re salesmen; that’s their job,” Bogdon acknowledged – the committee members’ local ties, they say, are the best arguments for why their fellow landowners should hear them out. “Who’s going to tell you the truth, the people who are trying to help out the community, or the ones who are trying to make money off you?” Long asked.

10 Questions

If you go

The South West Ross Township Property Group’s executive committee has crafted these questions to help landowners scrutinize lease offers:

Has an attorney versed in oil and gas leases reviewed the lease?

Do I understand in detail exactly what I’m signing?

Are the terms and financial aspects of the lease acceptable, or will I regret signing it later?

Am I signing this lease just because a neighbor did or a landman claims a neighbor did?

Would waiting be more beneficial?

Can I afford to wait?

Does the lease protect everything I want protected?

What does my property owner group think about this lease?

What would my dad say?

Am I being pressured to sign this lease, forcing me to skip over things on this list?

What: South West Ross Township Property Group’s next meeting

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday

Where: Sweet Valley Church of Christ

Why: Dale Tice, an attorney with gas-lease experts Greevy & Associates, will speak.

More info: Call 570-256-4488 for an informative phone message or go to:

Rory Sweeney, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 970-7418.

Copyright: Times Leader

Pa. high court mulls gas-wells regulation

DAN NEPHIN Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH — A lawyer for a suburban Pittsburgh municipality trying to keep gas wells out of a residential neighborhood told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday that towns must be allowed to regulate the location of drills.

The high court’s ruling on whether Oakmont, home to the famous golf course of the same name, can restrict the location of wells will have big implications across Pennsylvania, a state where landowners big and small are trying to cash in on the vast stores of valuable natural gas below.

“This is way beyond Oakmont. This applies to every municipality in the state,” said borough attorney Clifford Levine. If a lower court ruling is allowed to stand, municipalities could become virtually powerless to control the growing number of gas and oil wells that are being drilled throughout the state.

Propelled by high natural gas prices, companies are scouring for drilling opportunities throughout the region.

Geologists and exploration companies, for example, recently developed a way to extract gas from one large reservoir located some 6,000 to 8,000 feet underground. Though drilling into that large pool has only just begun, prospectors are buying up drilling rights, leading to tensions among neighbors and questions about who can drill where.

In Oakmont, Huntley & Huntley Inc. wants to drill a gas well in a residential subdivision on two adjoining lots that total 10 acres. The families that own the lots would be allotted one-quarter of the gas at no charge and the rest would be sold. The families would share in the profit.

Opponents, mostly neighbors, objected on grounds that the well violated local zoning laws and that the drilling would create noise and jeopardize public safety. The borough council agreed and rejected the company’s proposal.

In July 2007, a state appeals court overturned the decision, saying state law pre-empted municipalities from regulating well locations.

The court relied on its interpretation of a 1992 amendment to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act, but that amendment was intended to address only operational issues, Levine argued.

Copyright: Times Leader

Gas lease workshop to deal with money issues

Topics like reporting leasing income, transferring leases to beneficiaries to be covered.

The temptation to just sign could seem irresistible. With a few strokes of the pen, some people in the region are being offered the chance to completely change their lives with natural gas leases.

But first, they’re warned, make peace with the fact that the next person will get more. Check the maps, they’re told, check the deed, hire a lawyer, test the water. How much environmental damage is acceptable? How about hassles to daily life?

For those not involved, think Beverly Hillbillies, minus that improbable shot, and then exchange the endearing high jinks for hours of tedious title searching, legal work and stressful decisions with lifelong implications.

So who could blame anyone for simply signing and hiding behind the wads of cash? Well, their children, for one. Because with the great benefits of gas royalties come the great responsibilities of taxation and profit allocation, and, if they’re ignored, the great headaches of the judicial system and familial infighting.

“People are just seeing the (money) as a way to pay taxes … and not thinking about having to report it to the IRS and the tax implications that could have on them … or thinking about general financial planning or investing,” wrote Donna Skog Grey in an e-mail.

Grey, who works for the Penn State Cooperative Extension in Luzerne County, says the extension has been fielding questions on gas leases, environmental issues and lessee rights. What to do with the money, however, hasn’t come up often, she noted, which is why the extension is sponsoring workshops on what to do after the lease is signed but before the money rolls in.

One is planned for Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School on Aug. 25.

“There may be some strategies available to reduce the income tax,” said Dale Tice, an attorney with Greevy & Associates, a Williamsport law firm consulting on gas leases. “That’s something they would want to work out with their accountant or financial advisor prior to receiving the payment.”

The workshop will cover various topics, including how to report leasing income – the cash bonuses are just like regular income – transferring leases to beneficiaries and investment options.

“Certainly the cash-bonus payment is an issue,” Tice said. “It could push somebody up into a higher tax bracket. … You’re looking at a large potential tax hit, and without using the strategies that are available, you’ve got issues (in the event of) divorce, creditors.”

To add to confusion, there are health-care implications with elderly lessees who are currently eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, he said.

He noted some families are creating limited-liability companies to distribute the proceeds, and that family limited partnerships can make dividing up ownership of the lease similar to issuing stock.

“Really, the issue here is providing governance, keeping the parents in control of the resource while they’re alive, but at the same time providing for an orderly and easy shift of equity to the next generation,” Tice said. “I don’t think that you have to have it necessarily worked out before you receive your cash-bonus payment, but certainly there’s no disadvantage to thinking about these issues earlier rather than later.”

If you go

A natural gas-leasing workshop entitled “Managing Natural Gas Lease and Royalty Income” is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25 at the Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School. The cost is $10 per person. To make reservations, call the Penn State Cooperative Extension at 1-888-825-1701.

Rory Sweeney, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 970-7418.

Copyright: Times Leader

Gas leasing explored once more Notes from the Countryside With Mary Felley

Gas leasing! When I first wrote about this in May last year, lease prices were “up to several hundred dollars an acre.” When I did an update in December, prices “as high as $800” were said to be offered. Now $2,500 an acre is thought to be a reasonable price. Who knows how high it may go? Statewide, speculation about the most promising part of the Marcellus Shale is being directed solidly toward northeastern Pennsylvania.

The issues I mentioned in my first article are still valid concerns: clearing of trees and vegetation at the drilling site and for access roads; noise, lights, and vehicle and human traffic during the drilling process; and the risk of water supply interruption or contamination. Several water-related issues have come into higher prominence since then: the source and disposal of the water used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) a gas well, and the removal and disposal of solid and liquid wastes from the well site.

Representatives of land trusts from around the state, including Countryside Conservancy, met in Harrisburg in mid-June to learn more about the Marcellus Shale gas resource, how it will be developed, and how gas extraction can coexist with conservation. The conference organizer, the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (, has indicated that they will soon post information from this meeting on their website.

As a land trust, the Countryside Conservancy is dedicated to land and water conservation. We are not opposed to exploration and extraction of natural gas, but we want to ensure that the process does not damage natural resources of conservation value. To that end, we are working hard to educate ourselves about the pros and cons of gas development, and we urge landowners to do the same.

At the moment, one of the more accessible information resources for landowners is the Penn State Cooperative Extension website ( It contains information, publications, links to lawyers, CPAs, energy companies and more. The Extension does not recommend the services of anyone referred to on their website, but it is a place to start.

If you are a landowner considering leasing your gas rights, you will NOT want to sign any lease you are given by a gas or leasing company. There are many provisions that may need to be added to a lease to protect you, your land and your finances. A small sampling of things that you may want your lease to dictate, beyond leasing rates and royalties: removal of waste materials from the site; bearing the costs of Clean and Green or other tax penalties; lease extension clauses; permitting gas storage and transmission in addition to extraction; “shut-in” or “holding by production” clauses; defining the primary vs. secondary term of the lease; controlling the number of wells permitted on a property; timber payment for any trees removed; use of ponds as a water source; testing and protection of drinking water supply; the “Pugh Clause”; the landowner’s right to audit the operator’s production data; and landowner indemnification. This is not a comprehensive list, just an illustration that leases are complex legal documents.

Our #1 advice remains: talk to a lawyer who has experience in this field. You do not want to sign any important legal document that may change your land forever without having a lawyer on your side.

Also, get your well water tested. In fact, even if you are not leasing but your neighbors are, it is an excellent idea to test your water supply so that you will have pre-drilling baseline data. The testing needs to be done by a DEP-certified lab in order to be admissible for legal purposes. You can visit the Department of Environmental Protection website ( for a list of approved labs and other information (search under “Energy,” then “oil and gas wells”).

We at the Conservancy are not geologists or gas-rights lawyers, but we are dedicated to helping landowners make the best decisions for their land. We will do our best to put landowners in touch with people who can provide sound advice.

I can’t do better than quote the disclaimer on the Penn State Cooperative Extension web site: This information is for educational purposes only. The information posted here is NOT to be considered as legal advice. Consult a qualified attorney before signing anything!

Last call for the Countryside Conservancy’s 9th Annual Auction! The Auction takes place Saturday, July 12 on the green at Keystone College and tickets are still available. The party starts at 6 pm. Call 945-6995 now to reserve your place!

Mary Felley is the Executive Director of the Countryside Conservancy. Contact her at 945-6995 or

Copyright: Times Leader

Natural gas boom coming

Expert says leases signed for $18,000 per acre in productive areas of Texas.

By Rory
Staff Writer

TUNKHANNOCK – Around January, Cal Otten’s parents signed a lease at $125 per acre to allow natural-gas exploration on their Forkston Township property in Wyoming County. Had they waited until now, they probably could have received $2,500 per acre.

That’s what Otten was offered a week ago.

“I thought $125 was a lot, actually, at the time,” said Otten, who owns 140 acres near his parents’ property.

Do a little math and you’ll see Otten’s parents made about $34,375 on their 275 acres. Not a bad haul for anyone, much less a couple in their golden years.

Cal Otten is holding out, even though he stood to gain $350,000. He wants a higher stake in the royalties if gas is ever extracted from his land, which means, yes, companies are giving away money on the speculation that they might find gas.

But that speculation is grounded in science, testing and history. Experts believe the thick Marcellus Shale that stretches deep underground from Kentucky to New York, including parts of Luzerne County, has the potential to produce as much natural gas as similar shale deposits in northern Texas.

Kenneth L. Balliet, a forestry and business management educator with the Penn State Cooperative Extension, recently took a trip to Fort Worth to see the economic impacts of those deposits. He said leases are being signed for $18,000 per acre in areas where production has proven strong.

Though there are only about 20 wells in Pennsylvania so far, Balliet expects local production to eventually rival Texas’ Barnett Shale. He said a gas company confided it plans to spend $1 billion this year in leasing agreements in Pennsylvania.

The Marcellus deposit is probably about four times as big as the Texas shale, he said, and a Penn State geologist has estimated that if just a tenth of the gas is recovered, it could fulfill America’s natural gas demand for two years.

“We’re talking lots of changes going on in the communities in terms of jobs: welders, pipe fitters, mechanics, construction,” he said.

Rod McGuirk, a Franklin Township landowner, believes the rush hasn’t yet hit Luzerne County, but it’s coming.

“A lot’s going to happen in the next few months if this keeps going as it’s going. We’re just in the forefront of this,” he said.

He received an offer of $300 per acre on his 56 acres about eight months ago, but hasn’t received another one since. He’s used that time to attend information meetings around Towanda so that he’s savvier when the offers start increasing rapidly.

“We’re where they were eight or nine months ago,” he said. “We want to do this on our terms. We don’t want an environmental disaster in 10 years.”

He’s waiting for a certain offer on his land, but wants to cash in before companies start drilling too much.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “All they have to do is drill three dry wells, and you don’t get squat.”

Matthew Golden, a West Pittston lawyer who’s offered to negotiate for some Franklin Township landowners, said the trick is straddling the line between getting top dollar and retaining enough rights to protect the land.

“That’s the $10,000 question: When’s the right time to sign and at what price? There are more variables than just the price,” he said, such as lease length, royalties, retaining the right to approve where wells go and securing separate payments for pipeline rights of way.

He suggested landowners have a lawyer look over proposed contracts.

“The standard company lease without any changes to it is bad. It gives away basically all the rights. They can pretty much put a well wherever they want. They’re limited to the barebones the state will allow, which is a lot. Pennsylvania is a pretty pro-drilling state,” he said.

But if sited correctly, Balliet said, wells can be environmentally benign.

“It just takes a little bit of planning,” he said. “Does that mean nothing can happen? No, that’s not true. It can and sometimes it does.”

He recommended landowners get their groundwater tested for oil and gas contaminants now to create a benchmark. Then, they have “something to stand on” if there is a problem, he said.

In the end, landowners must choose a number to accept and make peace with the decision.

“You have to do it with the knowledge that three months from now, the price could be 10 percent of what it is now or 1,000 percent of what it is now,” Golden said.

Rory Sweeney, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 970-7418.

Copyright: Times Leader

Citizens prep for area gas lease rush

By Rory
Staff Writer

With lucrative natural-gas lease offers coming to Luzerne County, landowners are beginning to pool their land, resources and knowledge to score the best deals possible.

Gas companies are rushing to secure the rights to a layer of rock called Marcellus Shale. The shale is deep underground, perhaps as far as 8,000 feet, and stretches from upstate New York to Virginia. Though solid, the rock holds natural gas under intense pressure. The resource has been known for decades, but technology only recently improved enough to extract it economically.

One issue landowners might not be able to control is determining who owns the rock and gas.

“That’s a tough question. Eventually what’s going to happen is when push comes to shove … they’re going to do title searches” back about 150 years, said John Zucosky, who is part of a Franklin Township landowners’ group. His research, he said, produced evidence that gas and oil might not be included in the mineral rights. He said he hasn’t heard anything about anyone claiming to own the rights.

Many Franklin Township residents have attended meetings at which Matthew Golden, a West Pittston lawyer who’s worked in the gas industry, has outlined the leasing, drilling and clean-up processes. He pointed out companies will attempt to exploit landowners’ ignorance to get them to sign unfavorable leases.

“There’s a great disparity in knowledge between the companies’ land men and the landowners. This could open them (landowners) up to some risk,” Golden said.

Zucosky’s group, which is accepting new members, owns 1,500 contiguous acres in Franklin Township.

Zucosky said he got involved nearly a year ago when a Texas company offered to buy the mineral rights on his 100 acres for $300 per acre. Initially, he suspected it was akin to an e-mail scam, but some Internet researching convinced him the offer was genuine and that he could probably get a better one.

“I saw that contract. You have to be pretty naive to sign something like that,” he said. If the situation is as experts suggest, Zucosky said, “there’s a whole bunch of money involved.”

He’s already witnessing the rush. An offer of $2,000 per acre increased by $500 within a few days without any prodding from owners, he said.

The group is ironing out which issues it wants addressed in contracts. Then it will consider offers, and once an offer is accepted, will hire a lawyer to finalize the contract, Zucosky said.

“We’re trying to put a package together to address all the things we want … to try to get the most we could,” he said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I think, so what the heck.”


For more information on gas leasing or to join a leasing group, go to

“I saw that contract. You have to be pretty naive to sign something like that.”

Landowner John Zucosky

On offer for his mineral rights
Rory Sweeney, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 970-7418.

Copyright: Times Leader

Landowners learn at gas lease seminars

Experts say leases are in-depth and a lawyer’s assistance is recommended.

By Sheena Delazio
Staff Writer

LEHMAN TWP.— The Penn State Cooperative Extension of Luzerne County and the Luzerne Conservation District want landowners to know what they are getting into before they sign a natural gas lease for their property.

The two organizations will host “Understanding and Negotiating Natural Gas Leases,” as part of a two-day informational discussion. The first session, held on Monday, was attended by more than 70 local landowners.

“It’s a hot topic right now,” said Tanya Dierolf, a conservation coordinator for the conservation district. “The price per acre has increased at a phenomenal rate.”

Typically, leasing companies offer property owners one-eighth of the money made on gas or oil extracted from beneath their properties. Depending on the company, owners can receive hundreds of dollars up front.

“(On Monday) presenters talked about the impact it could have on the land (if someone signed a lease), and there is potential there to make money, but we’re trying to present the facts,” Dierolf said. “These (leases) are very technical, and we highly recommend (landowners) consult an attorney before they make a decision.”

For example, in June, the Pennsylvania Mineral Group based in Port Lavaca, Texas, made up to 700 offers in Luzerne County to purchase gas rights at $300 an acre. Offers were based on geological surveys that pinpoint locations that may contain natural gas or oil.

The Pennsylvania Mineral Group did not return phone calls.

“These lease agreements are so in depth that landowners don’t understand the legality,” said Donna Grey, a Penn State Cooperative Extension educator. “We’re trying to explain what the landowner can expect to occur on their property so they can have an understanding, both visual and written.”

For next week’s session, Penn State Extension educators will be on hand, as well as a geologist and attorney, to talk about understanding gas leases, negotiating a lease, the economic impact of signing a lease and development of the Marcellus shale within the Earth.

Grey said landowners who attend will be able to make better decisions regarding their land. “This could be a good thing or a bad thing (for the landowner),” she said.

“It’s really confusing, and landowners need to use a consultant or attorney to help them. They can negotiate (if they decide to sign). And if they aren’t comfortable, they don’t have to settle on one gas company,” Grey said. “There is more than one company. They are just like any other sales person, they are out there to sell their product.”

If you go…
What: Understanding and Negotiating Natural Gas Leases

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Technology Center, Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus, Lehman Township

To register: Call 570-825-1701 or 570-674-7991. There is a $15 registration fee per person.

Copyright: Times Leader