Bradford PA Landowner Rally over Chesapeake Royalty Shenanigans

fox in henhouseLandowners in Bradford County, PA feel like they’re getting screwed by Chesapeake Energy on royalty payments, a complaint they’ve been making for some time now (see Bradford County, PA Landowners Sue Chesapeake over Royalties). PA state law guarantees a minimum 12.5% royalty to landowners, but because Chesapeake keeps deducting post-production expenses (like pipeline costs, processing costs, perhaps marketing costs), landowners end up getting squat–in some cases a 1.5% royalty. The landowners have some righteous anger over the issue. More than 100 landowners and officials gathered at the Bradford County Courthouse in Towanda on Friday in a rally to raise awareness of the issue and to support passage of PA House Bill 1648, which would protect landowners from large deductions from their royalty checks for post-production costs.

We applaud these landowners and their elected representatives for seeking justice in this situation. The problem is, they’ve invited a fox into the hen house to help them out. State Senator Gene Yaw, whose district includes Bradford County, along with PA Gov. Tom Corbett, has asked PA’s anti-drilling Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, to investigate Chesapeake and this matter of landowners getting shorted on royalty payments. She’s only too glad to “help out.” Normally that would be a good thing, except Kane is just as likely to turn around and bite the people she’s supposed to be helping. She hasn’t met a driller yet she wouldn’t rather see behind bars (see PA AG Abuses Her Authority, Files Criminal Charges Against XTO). If it were up to Kathleen Kane, there would be no Marcellus drilling at all and consequently no royalties for landowners to argue about. We think it’s an ill-advised move to involve Kane, but that’s just our humble opinion…

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