Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission filed their final report on Friday, containing some 96 recommendations for Gov. Corbett and the PA legislature to consider that will strengthen regulation of, and further promote, the shale gas industry in the state. The entire report (137 pages, containing a lot of background details) is embedded below. What follows first is a high level summary of the recommendations, to give you the bullet point quick overview.
A number of landowners in Pennsylvania signed gas leases with energy companies more than five years ago for very low amounts—$2 per acre in some cases—as a signing bonus. Landowners, realizing that a contract is a contract, waited patiently for the expiration of the lease—typically five years. But then, at the last possible moment, sometimes just hours before the lease is due to expire, the energy company would clear a few trees or park a bulldozer on the land in order to comply with the terms of lease, thereby extending the lease indefinitely because they had “made an effort” to start drilling.
Case in point: Dave and Karen Beinlich. They signed a lease for $2 an acre, for a grand total of $234 signing bonus on their 117 acre farm.
With 180,000 acres of leases in New York State, Norse Energy wants to be first in line for permits when New York finalizes its new drilling regulations.