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September 26, 2011

Hydraulic Regrets

In case you missed this over the weekend, the New York Times recently wrote about a growing group of regretful Upstate landowners who've let natural gas companies conduct hydraulic fracking on their property. All over the state, landowners have leased their land to fracking-happy natural gas companies for some upfront money and a percentage in royalties. After reading the story, it sounds like hydraulic fracking has worn out its welcome. "I assumed it'd be noisy for a couple of months, and I'd have a little extra cash and wouldn't that be great," Katharine D. Dewart -- owner of a 35-acre wildflower field in Tompkins County -- says in the article:

Now, she said, she is stricken with remorse. And she is not alone. Hundreds of other state residents who signed leases allowing gas companies to drill deep into their properties with a method known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing have changed their minds and are trying to break or renegotiate their contracts.[...]

Some property owners argue they were misled by representatives of gas companies who never uttered the words "hydraulic fracturing." They worry that they could be held liable should a neighbor's water be contaminated by the drilling, or that their property will become worthless or unsellable, or that the drilling industry could end their peaceful way of life.

Learn more about the Sierra Club's natural gas campaign.

-- Brian Foley

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