Imagine discovering that you don’t own the mineral rights under your land, and that an energy company plans to drill for natural gas 200 feet from your front door. “Split Estate” maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health. Split Estate
Most people don’t care about the Split Estate until it’s too late.
Most people believe their government makes sure they have clean air and safe water. They are shocked to learn that the oil and gas industry has broad exemptions from all our federal environmental laws. They believe the propaganda that it can’t happen here and that contamination is a rare occurrence.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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It is also important to note that even if you own the surface and the majority of the minerals, you still CAN NOT keep the operators or the minority mineral owners off your land. We own 75% of one of our lots and are fighting and paying lawyers to keep the operators away. The other 25% is under debate. If you buy property, make sure you get 100%, it is not enough to own the majority. Even a 1% mineral interest has greater legal standing than surface rights.
The same assumptions about governmental protections are alive and well in Pennsylvania. My family is still naive in thinking that regulations will save them. Well pads are being constructed in cow pastures within 5 miles of our summer home in French Azilum. Yet many family members are refusing to face what is coming on neighboring properties. While PA has different laws, we do have properties with split situations where mineral rights are separate from surface rights. Some people sell their properties but retain the royalties on gas wells.