Chesapeake Energy Stops Holding NY Landowners Hostage In Fracking Leases
A day after news reports indicate that Chesapeake Energy—one of the fracking companies with the most New York land under lease—has decided to stop holding NY landowners hostage to leasing contracts signed years ago, New York and Pennsylvania leaseholders, attorneys and other experts came together to call on Gov. Cuomo (D-NY) to continue the fracking moratorium in New York.
The leaseholders pointed to the facts on the ground in Pennsylvania, particularly public health impacts, water contamination and fracking companies that refuse to pay royalties.
“The fracking companies have been knocking on our doors for years, telling us how great fracking would be for us,” said Craig Stevens, a Pennsylvania leaseholder turned anti-fracking activist. “But I can tell you from what’s happened to me and my neighbors in Pennsylvania—New Yorkers should keep fracking out of their state.”
Many New Yorkers still hold unwanted leases. “After learning more about the destruction fracking caused in other states, I and many New York leaseholders now wish we had never signed,” said Ellen Harrison, whose land in Tompkins County, NY, is still under lease. “That Chesapeake is releasing some landowners from expired leases is welcome news, but there are many more of us still working to get out of our leases.”
In recent years, several prominent economists have warned that the economics of fracking lead to busts.
“Chesapeake’s decision to drop its attempt to hold landowners hostage by improperly trying to extend bad leases that were signed years ago, is a victory for the growing number of landowners who are looking at what’s happening in Pennsylvania and seeing that these company leases are not good for landowners or the environment,” said Joe Heath, an attorney in central New York who has been helping landowners understand how to end their leases.
“Pennsylvanians are warning us of water contamination, companies that refuse to pay royalties and a supposed boom that is quickly turning to a bust. More and more New Yorkers are deciding that the downsides of fracking are just too numerous.”
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