You should seriously consider consulting an attorney knowledgeable in this particular area of law as well as your mortgage lender and homeowner's insurance carrier as your decision to sign may affect your ability to refinance, sell, or be covered for any damages related to drilling.
Pennsylvania does not currently have automatic forced pooling (the act of being forced by state law into participation in an oil and/or gas producing unit) and it is very difficult, and impossible in many circumstances, for companies to use this controversial legal tool to gain access to minerals beneath your property. The promise of income for your family for generations is often exaggerated and there are hidden fees, taxes, deductions etc.
Click Here for a list of questions to ask the "Landman" before signing a lease
Some research you can do before signing:
* Always consult an attorney knowledgable in this are of law before signing ANYTHING!
* Call your mortgage lender and home owner's insurance- your decision to sign may affect refinancing, selling, or damage coverage related to drilling.
* The promise of income for your family is often exaggerated and there are hidden fees, taxes, deductions, etc...
* ALL of your neighbors have NOT signed; gas cannot be extracted from your land without your permission.
* High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing is a heavy industrial process- do your homework before you sign away your rights.
Sample lease denial letter:
For a sample letter you can use to deny gas companies the leasing of your mineral rights, click here.
Canvas your neighborhood:
If oil and gas companies are approaching you and your neighbors about leasing it is important that everyone is aware of what it will entail. If you would like to share this information you can canvass your area with this printable "Think Before You Sign A Lease" door hanger. Click here to download the door hanger.
Other concerns associated with unconventional gas development:
Nuisance: Fracking is a heavy industrial process. Each well requires thousands of truck trips and results in significant noise. Drilling operations continue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and require substantial lighting and produces tons of waste.
Fire & Explosions: There is always the potential for fire and explosions with the nature of natural gas production and the evacuation area on an unconventional gas well is typically a 1/2 mile radius from the well.
Water & Air Pollution: According to the DEP, in 2014 more than 240 private water supplies were said to have been damaged by oil and gas operations during the past seven years. Streams and tributaries are also at risk from contamination due to spills or regurgitation of flow back from slick water hydraulic fracturing. Residents living less than 1⁄2 mile from wells are at greater risk for health effects from exposure to air pollutants during well completion activities due to exposure to toxic chemicals released during the process.
Property Value Depreciation: All of the above concerns are issues that can affect property values. Property values will also be affected by whether or not the mineral rights have been severed from the surface rights, whether the mineral rights can be or are leased to an oil & gas company, and problems obtaining mortgages and insurance coverage.
Part of Protect PT's mission is to protect the rights of the entire community, if you have questions or want us to put you in contact with legal experts who may be able to help you, please email us.
Hear it first hand from a farmer who has been through it all: