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Brinker fight

October 19, 2012
Morning Journal News


I would like to take the time to clarify an article that was written about the Brinker Storage leases.

The judge who is presiding over this case does not have to rule on whether this case involves state or federal law. The federal court has already kicked the case back to Columbiana County for a ruling, finding it was controlled by state law.

Also, we as property owners do not want to break up the storage field, we just want our mineral rights. Columbia and NiSource are hiding behind the storage field, claiming that it gives them the right to the minerals under our properties. But they haven't paid most landowners rent and have not drilled for years. A lease is just what it says, a lease, not ownership. Columbia Gas and NiSource had their chance to drill and they missed. We don't have a problem with the storage field, we have a problem with Columbia Gas and NiSource claiming they own our minerals.

Half of the property owners within the Brinker Storage Fields have strata leases, these people are free to lease. Half of the landowners have old production leases they cannot lease like their neighbors with strata leases.

Columbia Gas and NiSource don't seem to have a problem with drilling companies drilling down through the storage fields where the property owners have a strata lease. They do have a problem if the landowner has an old production lease. If Columbia Gas and NiSource were so concerned about drilling for oil and gas, why did they replace half of the acreage on the storage field with strata leases?

Now more than ever, the Brinker land owners need support from neighbors and friends. Columbia Gas and NiSource are trying to take what is ours. We purchased the properties, we pay the taxes on our properties, and we raise our families on our properties. The properties and minerals belong to us, not Columbia Gas and NiSource.

Karen Hucko




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