"MONTICELLO — So much natural gas sits in the underground formation stretching from Sullivan County to Ohio, it could be "the largest find in the United States," the president of the Chenango County Farm Bureau, Bradd Vickers, told a crowd of about 125 at a Tuesday night gas drilling forum.
With that much at stake, "the upfront money to lease your land (up to $6,500 an acre in Pennsylvania) can seduce you," he told the crowd at the first of three forums presented by Sullivan County at Monticello High School.
So the motto for prospective leasers should be "buyer beware," was the message of Vickers and Elmira lawyer Chris Denton, who represents some 5,000 landowners and groups leasing land.
Speakers at future forums will address the environmental risks of the controversial horizontal drilling method of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," along with the impacts on the economy and community. But Tuesday night's session on land and landowner issues was a kind of consumers' guide for leasing the Marcellus shale, which could begin once the state releases new drilling regulations by the end of the year. The evening was as much a primer on what the gas companies can do to you as what you can do to protect yourself.
Denton set the skeptical tone when he said, "This is not an industry that's near or dear to me. You can be taken by a slick land man (who tries to get you to sign a lease)."' More>>>>