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You had no idea what you were agreeing to when you signed a mineral lease. If you did you'd have told them to get out

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Jerry Lobdill       (Page 2 of 7 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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Perhaps more ominous is the fact that he is not limited to extraction of minerals from a specific formation (e.g., the Barnett Shale) but may explore for deeper minerals that are said to be known to exist under the Barnett Shale. In South Texas his brethren are still holding leases executed in the 1930s, 75 years ago, leases that have polluted the surface and made it unusable for its original purpose of cattle ranching. Although the original target minerals have largely been removed, these lessees are now exploring for and producing gas on these properties. Surface equipment that is no longer functional still leaks carcinogens into the ground, and leaky pipes produce liquid and gas that come to the surface. The surface rights owners have been denied access to areas on their property by the lessee, and the lessee is presently suing the surface rights owner in court for various violations of the lessee's rights. So, while you've been told verbally that there'll be no effects on your surface usage, that is not an enforceable contract provision, and the lessee knew it when he asked you to sign.

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Your partner in the lease didn't tell you that in order to produce the gas he desires there will have to be a gas drilling pad with multiple wells on it and peripheral equipment that will require large truck service daily throughout the life of the wells, and that this drilling pad will be allowed to be located less than 300 feet from homes. They did not tell you that each drilling pad will require a 16 inch steel gas gathering line to carry away the gas to a processing facility, and that the right of way for this line will be taken by eminent domain if necessary, and the line will lie within perhaps 20 feet of home foundations without regard to the possible presence of enclosed spaces under the homes that can cause accumulation of unodorized gas and subsequent explosion.

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They did not tell you that the gas in the gathering lines is the most corrosive form of natural gas there is and that it has corroded through such installations in 3.5 years with catastrophic fatal results. They did not tell you that their plan to install these pipelines by horizontal drilling through front yards at a depth of about 20 ft would not protect you from an explosion due to corrosion and leaks. In fact, the burying of the pipeline makes inspection more difficult and possible only with instruments too expensive to be affordable by secondary operators who will be buying out the original drillers within 5 years of installation. And these instruments do not detect all corrosion. Only those types of pipeline anomalies for which the instrument was specifically designed can be detected and identified as problems. Thus we had the Appomattox pipeline explosion of 2008.

Your lessee did not tell you that in the four years from 2004 through 2007 there were 9 reported gathering line incidents in the Barnett Shale that satisfied the federal criteria for "significant incidents". These criteria include any of the following--fire, explosion, human injury or death, $50,000 or more in damage, or mass evacuation. The fact that there were 9 such incidents reported in the Barnett Shale implies that when industry and the City of Fort Worth have enabled a full build-out of the gas field underlying Fort Worth there will be, statistically, on average, one significant incident inside the city limits of Fort Worth every six months.

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I am a retired physicist and hold a B.S. in Ch. E. as well. I have been an environmental activist since the early 1970s. I have been a writer of opinion pieces and other essays since about 1995 and am a published author of history. I have (more...)
 

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