“I was forced to sign the contract. If I didn’t, they were going to get a restraining order against me, and I would go to jail,” Donie land owner Cynthia Lee stated in a follow up interview to a photo that appeared on the front page of The “Times” on May 11, 2010.
In that issue, we wrote that Lee had chained herself to a tree Tuesday, May 11th, to prevent XTO Energy from drilling on her property without negotiating with her first.
Lee knew there was a mineral lease on the property at the time she purchased it in 2002, but thought as the surface owner, she would have certain rights.
Part of her reason for protest was because XTO has refused to pay for damages already incurred.
Among the many incidence cited by Lee was a flare blowout from a Trend Gathering Plant that killed mature trees and left white crystallized substances all over the pond and an oil film on the property. She further indicated that her fences had been cut and 8 large cedar trees were “stolen.” She was eventually paid $8,000 for the trees.
She stated that XTO had confirmed that they had done “mud’ dumps on her property. She also has noticed what she believes to be similar spills along county roads (811/813) in that area.
Environmental Officer Bill Madding states that Loren Miller had investigated and, based on Miller’s report, he believes that the water, and/or soil may have been contaminated. He plans to take samples of the soil and water and will also be looking into substances found on the County Roads.