When Anna Driver, Reuter’s reporter, contacted me looking for someone to share their story of fighting Rule 37, I connected her with Ranjana Bhandari. The Texas Railroad Commission used Rule 37 to allow Chesapeake Energy to steal her property. So much for Chairman Smitherman’s claim that he supports private property rights in Texas.
Special Report: The casualties of Chesapeake’s “land grab” across America
By Brian Grow, Joshua Schneyer and Anna Driver
Tue Oct 2, 2012 8:53am EDT
In fact, since January 2005, the Texas agency has rejected just five of Chesapeake’s 1,628 requests for such exceptions, a Reuters review of agency data shows.
That means Smitherman has voted against private property rights 1623 times just where CHK was concerned.
“The principle of it is insane,” said Calvin Tillman, a former mayor of Dish, Texas, a small town north of Fort Worth where drilling has been heavy. “Not only can they take your property, but they don’t have to pay you for it.”
Chesapeake’s use of the Texas law is among the latest examples of how the company executes what it calls a “land grab” – an aggressive leasing strategy intended to lock up prospective drilling sites and lock out competitors.
This article shines a bright light on some of the dirty fracking secrets. It’s Chesapeake Energy’s turn to stand in the spotlight, again. But we need to remember: Chesapeake is not the only or even the worst bad actor. There are far, far worse. Dirty secrets is the overall culture of this industry.
UPDATE: Reuter’s video