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Landowners Released From Gas Leases

A group of landowners which had already claimed victory in court has settled with Chesapeake Energy in a deal which releases the landowners from gas leases.

The group of over 200 landowners which owns roughly 13,000 acres had been kept in their leases past the original expiration date due to force majeure clauses, which Chesapeake had invoked saying the state's moratorium on fracking prevented it from drilling.

Last November, a federal judge ruled in favor of landowners who fought Chesapeake's claim of force majeure. The gas company had appealed but Monday's settlement officially frees the landowners from their leases.

"They are released from their lease, they are free and clear and they're now just like the rest of us, waiting for the Governor to make a decision so that we can move forward with this opportunity in New York," said Scott Kurkoski, attorney for the landowners.

Some of those leases were signed over a decade ago, before the state's moratorium on fracking began for as little as $3 an acre.


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