The Marcellus and Utica shale drilling presents our community with tremendous potential for economic growth and a new era of prosperity here in Columbiana County. We have already experienced a boost to our local economy and it appears the best is yet to come. Unfortunately, hundreds of our local families are forced out from taking advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. It is not widely known that mineral leases signed as far back as the 1930s deny landowners the right to profit from the investment in their land. These leases are used exclusively by gas transmission companies to store excess natural gas underground. Chesapeake, DPS Penn and others want desperately to lease the mineral rights from these landowners but are blocked from doing so by the corporate leaseholders. This has to change.
There may be a whole range of solutions to this problem, among them unnecessary and expensive litigation. I think we can do better, and I urge the governor and state legislature to cooperate, step in, and give this problem the attention it deserves.
Candidate for state representative