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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Letter To The Editor

Revisiting Land Rights … GAS or WIND
Hector Township and Beyond

After recently reading an article in “The Leader…” I pondered over the on-going dispute between JKLM and BLW. Is the dispute really between these companies or at the root could it be one between rights owners. Or could it be both? PA land owners have long had the ability to separate their rights … surface from subsurface, the latter being layer by layer with even specific depths being given.

Whomever JKLM paid for the shale depth leases, they’re happy having money in pocket. The losers could well be construed as the surface owners if they are not one and the same. Surface owners have the same right to lease top acreage, and have likely been paid by companies (perhaps) Big Level Wind (BLW) if theirs was the chosen route. What are resources for if not to be used?

Did these two companies do their homework in regards to the acreage each required to accomplish their goals? Public meetings being advertised in local papers would be enough to bring conflicting issues to the forefront and addressed IF all rights owners (often far-flung) lived close enough or had access to read these papers online or in print. Do they know which ones are daily or weekly news sources?

Heading up a large landowners group across our region I know many subsurface rights’ owners involved are found throughout the USA as well as locally. Everyone wants compensation for the rights they lease. Once any company’s money goes into owners’ pockets, all companies involved have earned a spot to build upon per agreement.

Wanting to find favor with the court it’s very likely JKLM and BLW have both over-stated what they need to succeed. Every business exists for profit, the bigger the better. Can JKLM really only drill a lateral 1000’ when Eclipse out of State College is already reaching dry gas in OH @ a depth of 27,000’ and lateral arm of 19,300’? That was recorded in May of this year. Even if the comma is moved left one space the number is nearly 2,000. Is it possible that the loudest squawker(s) here are the big rights’ owners who want royalties pouring in now? That’s not an evil wish, but nat gas riches have been an exercise in extreme patience for our region since the beginning. Who’s doing all the jumping around?

BLW can likely alter the placement of its turbines, just as JKLM can extend its laterals. Whatever Judge Leete’s decision, I believe both sides will be fairly treated and both will have to make adjustments. As for rights’ owners whether surface or subsurface, they will still have to be patient and that can be challenging.

Janice Lanphere Hancharick
Email: jlhanch@nc.rr.com

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