Landowners' group to discuss gas leasing

The Central New York Landowners Coalition (CNYLC) will hold a public informational meeting on Thursday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Delaware Academy auditorium at 2 Sheldon Drive in Delhi. All Delaware County landowners interested in leasing their property for natural gas exploration are invited to attend.
The lease contracts offered directly by the gas companies can be very disadvantageous to landowners, so to gain negotiating power landowners have formed such cooperative groups. The CNYLC has gathered together over 45,000 acres so far, and is still growing rapidly. All Delaware County (along with Chenango and Otsego counties) landowners are welcome to join, and there is no minimum acreage required. There is no cost to join.
Among the benefits sought for landowners are: better protection for your land, better lease signing bonus and royalty rates, more say over where and how the company can drill, or bury pipes, or make roads, setbacks from all buildings on the property, shorter lease term and improved renewal terms, Pugh clause (you regain rights to any portion of your land not included in a drilling unit), independent testing of drinking well water before and after gas drilling and many other basic elements of gas leasing.
The main speaker at the meeting will be Chris Denton, the chief attorney/negotiator for the CNYLC. He will address the concerns of landowners about the basic exploration and drilling processes, alert them to common pitfalls of leasing, instruct them on some of the intricacies of the “unitizing” process, and present the best options for leasing that protects the land and still allows the landowner to profit from gas exploration and drilling. A question and answer period will follow.
The money at stake for Delaware County landowners is tremendous, promising to transform the local economy. Already in the Deposit and Hancock areas, leases have been signed for over $2,400 per acre. And that amount pales by comparison to eventual royalties if wells are drilled, which could be 10 times that, over the life of a well.
While the money involved can be almost blinding, landowners should include environmental protections in their lease to cover areas where state or federal law is weak. The landowners’ coalition wants all landowners to go into this process fully educated, so they can make a wise choice about their land, and not be duped into signing a poor lease. The moment to get the right terms into a lease is now, because after it is signed, there is no going back. As Attorney Denton likes to say, “It’s a complex business transaction masquerading as a lottery ticket.”