Posts Tagged ‘Township Solicitor’

Lease will pay for township drilling

Tunkhannock expecting $439,975 check in March from Chesapeake Energy.

By Rory
Staff Writer

Tunkhannock Township in Wyoming County announced this week it received the signed agreement for its gas-drilling lease with Chesapeake Energy for about 76 acres of public land.

The up-front bonus check for $439,975 is expected in early March.

The township board had signed the lease in October, but the process was delayed because of municipal regulatory requirements.

“We were part of the Wyoming County land group, but we had to put it out for bid being a municipality,” said Judy Gingher, the township’s secretary.

The bid stipulated, however, that the winning bidder had to have at least 1,000 acres already leased in the township, and no one entered a bid.

The township received $5,762 per acre, which was $12 per acre more than for private landowners, Gingher said. The township currently has no plans for the money.

“They’re looking possibly just to invest it,” Gingher said.

Gingher said there were minor community concerns about surface-drilling activity because much of the land is in the township’s 42.5-acre Lazy Brook Park, which hosts a variety of community functions.

The land might be off limits to surface activity because of building-setback requirements and deed restrictions.

Much of it was purchased in 2006 through hazardous flood mitigation buyouts, which carry emergency management agency restrictions that prohibit permanent structures.

Township Solicitor Paul Litwin was unsure if drilling would be considered a restriction, though, because the drilling infrastructure is temporary and the resulting well pad likely wouldn’t impede flood flow, which is the purpose of the restrictions.

Structures are permissible “as long as you don’t increase the flood height with the structure, and a pad would basically be flat once you put the structure in,” he said.

“The question we’ll have to resolve if they want to put a pad there is that a permanent structure, and we’ll have to look at that if and when they want to do that. … They haven’t applied yet, so we haven’t looked at it yet. … My guess is it probably would not be considered permanent.”

Brian Grove, the director of corporate development at Chesapeake, declined to comment on the lease or plans for the property.

Copyright: Times Leader