New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached that would allow more than 4,400 landowners to renegotiate natural gas leases with Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy.
Landowners with leases extended as a result of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)'s environmental review into hydraulic fracturing will now be able to negotiate leases with other gas companies for more favorable environmental or financial terms, Schneiderman said in a statement. Chesapeake can then either match the offer or release the lien on the property.
Chesapeake must also release leases that were extended using contracts that had blanks in them where a monetary amount should have been. The agreement includes leases that have expired or will expire prior to Dec. 31, 2013.
The company can still extend leases that have an Extension of Term Provision if it does not contain any blanks and has not expired.
As part of the agreement, Chesapeake subsidiary Chesapeake Appalachia LLC must pay New York State $250,000 as reimbursement for the costs of the investigation.
"Make no mistake about it – this agreement will provide a safety net for thousands of landowners by allowing them the opportunity to negotiate fairer lease terms, both financial and environmental, regardless of their existing contracts," said Schneiderman. "For landowners across the state, this deal literally will provide a new lease on life."
No shale drilling activity has taken place in New York State due to the existing moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly will lift the moratorium on fracking this summer, The Washington Times reported.
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