BEFORE You Sign A Gas Lease

by: Bill Hecht

Yes royalties are great if they get a meaningful amount of gas. But usually the big plus is FREE gas for your home, farm shop, or even your grain dryer. A common lease will allow 150,000 cubic feet of gas per well. Note: this is per well not per lease. A lease could cover 40 acres or 4,000 acres. Another common lease is for free gas of a specified amount and the option to purchase more at well head price or some set price plus 10%. Also be advised that wells are now being drilled on less than 40 acres in New York State.

For info on reasonable delay rental amounts and rental amounts, have your lawyer call Charles Gilchrist at DEC in Albany (see below). Two to five dollars per acre are not unusual or unreasonable.

Other things to consider; since natural gas is usually 95 to 98 percent methane and methane has no odor, is that you will be required to put odorant into the gas. The driller or producing company does not have to odorize their gas in their gathering and transmission lines. The owner of the well usually only has the obligation to provide a valve at the well for you to hook up. From there on it is your responsibility and thus your liability. If the well is some distance from your home you may also may want written into the lease the option to hook up at some other location such as the pipeline system which could be closer to your home than at the well. This is not a big deal so don't let them say this can not be done. The gas pressure as it come from the ground (1800 to 2200 feet down) will be in the region of 550 to 650 pounds per square inch. That will kill you in a blink of an eye if you don�t know what you are doing. You will require special high pressure valves, relief valves, regulators and piping. If you use one inch pipe use thick wall and weld it, no threaded fittings. Play it safe and use 1 1/2 inch or 2 inch welded thick walled pipe at all above ground areas. You may also have to covert your furnace from propane or oil, to natural gas.

It is not at all unusual for a company to have a lease that could encumber your property indefinitely. Sign only a one year lease or a lease that ends in say five or ten years and is open to be renegotiated. Stipulate that a well must be drilled, perforated and fracked in one year. Otherwise the company might not drill for a few years, or might drill the well but not perf or frack it. What this means is you just have a hole in the ground but no gas. No gas means no royalties and no gas to heat your home. Also remember that even if you get enough gas (a big IF in some places) the company that owns the well has the right to shut in the well at any time. Thus if you are hooked to the gathering pipeline system you are more likely not to loose gas service. YOU must be ready, at any time, to have gas service terminated. You need a backup.

You may and can ask for the right to specify (within DEC regs and within reason) where the well or wells are placed on your property. The well has to be 660 feet from a property line and 1,320 feet from the other wells (unless closer spacing is allowed by the state). BUT there is a fudge factor on both these figures.

If there is an important water supply, either farm, home or municipal, nearby, I would suggest getting a series of water samples and flow tests taken to document water quality BEFORE drilling begins. Also make sure that the DEC Bureau of Minerals in Avon NY is notified so that special casing and precautions are taken while drilling through the aquifer(s). You may also want to be sure that the intermediate strings of casing are cemented properly and have had well bond logs run and verified by a competent geologist. You and the DEC also may want pressure test made of these intermediate strings before drilling continues especially if there is a near by municipal water well and aquifer.

You the landowner may also stipulate were the pipelines are run. But be sure this option is also spelled out in the lease. Lease holder and person maintaining pipe ROW have the right and need to enter your property at any time day or night, summer or winter, muddy or dry to make repairs.

Be sure the lease specifies that the well head and equipment are fenced off with chain link fence and maintained on a yearly basis.

Does the lease allow the company to store their equipment on your property ? If so how much land will be involved.

Realize that the drilling will be a 24 hour affair and last from one week for a rotary well to a month or more for a cable tool well.

Specify where access roads go and how they should be maintained.

If digging is done for a pipeline and you have �lots� of rocks in your fields then make sure they have to come back the following year (after initial reclamation) and pick rocks.

Stream crossings have to be permitted by DEC.

If there is damage to timber stands, write in the compensation terms and requirements for cleanup. Talk to a NY State DEC reccomended forester on this.

If you should ever buy the well from the owner and the well is plugged and the company who drilled the well is �gone� and the plugging job is bad and leaks, it�s YOUR responsibility and cost.

Will they repair and replace damage to drainage tiles?

Do not sign for storage rights. This can be done later.

Check out the Sample Lease in the �Final Generic Oil and Gas EIS�

Do not allow them free water rights to surface or subsurface water during or after drilling.

Be sure the lease is for gas drilling only. If they want to use a particular formation for a gas storage field then that is a sepparate lease arrangement.

If you have say 400 acres of land and they drill 10 wells on that 400 acres then be sure that you have free gas from EACH well. Be sure the wording is not by the lease but by the well. HOWEVER! what if they only drill ONE well? Then you might want wording that you are entitled to a set amout of free gas bassed on the the WHOLE lease.

Specify what geologic formation they can drill into and produce from. Each formation can be leased separately. You could do one lease to the Queenston/ Medina and another separate lease to a different company to the Trenton Limestone or some other target. Geothermal or other mineral exploration should be handled by a separate lease.

Will they be doing any directional drilling?

You may wish to restrict drilling to a certain time of year so they are not tearing up fields during corn planting, harvest time, or periods of excessive erosion. The company should be responsible for damage to crops, roads both your roads and town and county roads. Some of this equipment is over the weight limits of rural roads and bridges.

They equipment can be big. If the weather turns bad they may bring dozers in to winch the equipment into place. This can really dig up a field and destroy tile lines and the soil profile.

If the well is a dud, by the company�s standards, it may not be a dud for home use. But before you accept the well or buy the well from the driller or owner, know the liability you are assuming. It cost money to keep a well in repair or to plug and abandoned it by State regs. The well may be a dud as a gas well but it may be a great water well so get in the lease the option to have the company plug the well for gas while retaining use as a water well.

There are at least two large firms in Syracuse that have past experience representing gas drilling companies in Central New York. The New York State Attorney Generals Office and DEC in Avon New York can also assist you.

There have been numerous great deals for landowners in gas rights and royalties, there have also been disasters and loss of life. Proceed with caution and be informed ! !


No buildings on ROW

Restoration of ROW should be spelled out.

Contact your states environmental department and geological and mineral departments that might have a say in such righjt-of-ways.

Contact your State Attourney General

Contact your State Public Service Commission which migh have a say and or experience with piplines and other right-of-ways.

Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau and Dunn and Bradstreet.

What time of year will work be done.

A few quick phone calls to construction and engineering companies can provide a wealth of info on the companuy in question and also the contractors who may do the installation.

Can the enter and exit the ROW 24 hours a day and 360 days a year?

Make sure the ROW is for a specific width. Some are so indefinnate that they can just keep expanding the width to accomodate more pipes, cables or poles.

Don't forget the destruction of the aesthetic values of the site.

Get them to do DIRRECTIONAL drilling if you feel stongly about not disturbing the site. Dirrectional drilling can cost $20 to $45 per foot. Here in New York the Public Service Commission has guidlines and reccomendations for dirrectional drilling. Such drilling can be done for distances of over 2,000 feet and 1,000 feet is common.



� The operator of the well can shut you off at ANY time to service the well or for their own safety or yours.

� The State DEC can require an operator to shut in a well if the DEC feels the well is unsafe.

� DEC does not regularly inspect wells.

� DEC has no jurisdiction or responsibility for the home hookup or any piping and equipment installed by the homeowner.

� YOU are responsible from the wellhead valve to your home, business or farm.

� Remember that you really do not know what you are dealing with and the dangers; so call in an expert. What you don�t know will kill you or somebody else.

� Don�t assume that those servicing or owning the well know either. There are lots of rusting hookups out there.

� If you have to add odorant to the gas (natural gas has no odor) then keep a record of when you or someone qualified has serviced the well hookup. Just as you would for your smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

� Nothing lasts for ever so have your hookup inspected regularly and document this.

� Be sure you have a backup energy source in case you or the well operator have to shut in the well. There may not be any obligation on the well owners part to have the well turned on at all times or what if they shut the well off accidentally nad your house freezes?

� Install an emergency shut off valve outside and 200 feet from your building. In an emergency you may not have time to get all the way out to the well to shut things down.

� You may need electricity at the wellhead to run a heater to prevent regulator freeze ups. Does your lease allow this? Will they run the line for you?

� The PSC (Public Service Commission) of NY has guidelines that the utilities use that guide them in the use of directional drilling for the installation of pipelines. Under good soil conditions it is possible to drill through your property for distances up to 1,000 to 2,000 feet WITHOUT digging a ditch. This is less disruptive to tree roots, lawns, swamps, and streambanks. Be sure you request this be done in ecologically and visually sensitive areas.

� Do not alow sub-lease of ROW for fiber optic cable or any other use unless you know what your rights are and what the going rate is.

� The use of herbicides and mowing should be investigated.

� No sublease for trails, or other uses without your permission and compensation if you so desire.

� Inflation clause.

NY State Attorney General

615 Erie Blvd. West

Syracuse, NY 13202

428-4049 Syracuse

518-474-5481 Albany

Randy Nemecek

Mineral Resources Program Manager - Division of Minerals

New York State DEC

Avon, NY 14414

716-226-2466 Ext. 273

Mr. Charles Gilchrist - Leasing and Mining Section Chief

NY State DEC Bureau of Minerals

50 Wolf Road

Albany NY 12233-6500


(he is responsible for just the leasing of State lands)

updated 2/2/99


Minerals Home Page

Minerals Site Index

Do You Own or Intend To Buy a Natural Gas Or Oil Well?

Tips for Landowners

Many people who are not in the oil and gas business for a living already own or may buy property with an oil or natural gas well. Usually, the well is no longer productive enough for commercial purposes, but may produce enough gas to heat a house.

Production of this gas can be beneficial to the landowner and uses a nonrenewable resource that wouldn't be available if the well were plugged immediately. The landowner may pay a small fee for the well or may acquire it for free.

How Do I Find Out if There's A Well on the Land?

What Am I Responsible For?

What Paperwork Do I Need To Know About?

How Do I Get a Well Plugged?

What Does it Cost to Plug a Well?

Safety Tips for Landowners

How Do I Find Out if There's A Well on the Land?

Always ask the seller if there are any oil or gas wells on the land you are planning to buy. Also, tell your attorney to check the deed for oil and gas leases. You can also check the oil and gas well maps at the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office. Maps do not exist for some older wells, so when you walk the land keep an eye out for:

A wellhead which looks like a vertical pipe up to 4 feet tall.

A hole in the ground, with or without casing (metal pipe).

Pumpjacks, rod lines, oil or waste fluid tanks, drilling pipe and other equipment that may be oil- or gas-related.

Oil-soaked ground, which may look like tar or asphalt.

Areas with bare ground, stressed or dead vegetation that may be caused by brine or other oil and gas waste fluids.

Areas with unexplained bubbling or hissing sounds.

Although most wells are found in fields or woods, a few older wells have been discovered in such unexpected places as basements, stream banks and under parking lots. If you think you've found an oil or gas well, contact the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office to schedule an inspection. The prior landowner may be responsible for plugging the well.

What Am I Responsible For?

If you acquire, own or operate a natural gas or oil well, you are legally responsible for meeting State regulatory requirements:

You must comply with the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law and Regulations and operate the well in a safe and environmentally responsible manner (Environmental Conservation Law Article 23 and 6 NYCRR Parts 550 - 559).

You must submit all required paperwork, described below.

You must properly dispose of brine and other waste products from the well.

You must properly handle any oil the well produces.

You are responsible for plugging the well unless the Department approves transfer of the plugging responsibility to another party. Also, a landowner well cannot be shut-in (not producing) for more than one year without being plugged, or obtaining written Department approval for an extension.

You should be aware of taxes and any applicable local fire codes.

What Paperwork Do I Need To Know About?

You are responsible for submitting some initial paperwork, filing a short annual report form, keeping your records updated and informing the Division of Mineral Resources if there is an accident involving your well. You may also need to post financial security of either $2,500 or $5,000 depending upon the age and depth of the well. To get started, request a Well Transfer Information Package from the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office.

Organizational Report - You must submit an Organizational Report to the Division of Mineral Resources' Albany office when you become the owner of a natural gas or oil well. This report tells the Division how to contact you, if necessary. You must update this form when the information changes.

Download an Organizational Report form which allows electronic filling and printing (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Financial Security - The Division of Mineral Resources will determine the need for financial security for any unplugged oil or gas well. Financial security is a bond, certificate of deposit or other form of guarantee that the money will be available to plug your well when necessary. The amount of financial security is based on the number of wells you own and their depth.

Once a well is plugged or legally transferred to another owner, your financial security is returned. Contact the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office for assistance in determining your well's financial security requirements.

Download a Financial Security Worksheet and paperwork for filing financial security: Bond form, sample Letter of Credit, or sample Certificate of Deposit (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Well Transfer Approval Form - The person selling or giving you the oil or gas well must submit a Well Transfer Form to the Division of Mineral Resources' Albany office that has been signed by both of you in the presence of a notary public. The

Division will not approve the transfer until it has received your Organizational Report and any required financial security.

Division staff may also inspect the well first to make sure it complies with State regulations.

Download the Request for Well Transfer form (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Annual Well Report - Every year you must fill out an Annual Well Report indicating how much gas, oil and waste fluids your well produced. The Division of Mineral Resources' Albany office mails out the report forms in January. Completed forms are due March 31.

Download the Annual Well Report form.

Request for API Number - You need your well's American Petroleum Institute (API) identification number to complete the Annual Well Report. Older wells may not have an API number assigned to them. Contact the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office for help in determining your well's API number and to request assignment of a number.

Download the form for requesting an API number (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Non-Routine Incident Report - If you have a leak, spill, fire, or other accident related to your well, you must immediately notify the appropriate Division of Mineral Resources regional office and file a written report. You may be required to take specific steps to solve the problem.

More information about the paperwork requirements.

How Do I Get a Well Plugged?

Plugging a well is not a do-it-yourself job. You must use a plugging contractor registered with the Division of Mineral Resources and you must apply for a plugging permit. There is no fee for the permit.

Download the form for applying for a plugging permit (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

What Does it Cost to Plug a Well?

It generally costs between $1,500 and $5,000 to plug a well. However, if a well has been poorly maintained, it may cost much more to plug it.

Safety Tips for Landowners

NEVER hook up a natural gas well to your house without adequate equipment. For assistance contact a well service company.

REMEMBER that natural gas straight from a well has NO ODOR. Pipeline gas smells because of an added ingredient.

WATCH FOR bubbles in your water which may be caused by gas.

NEVER CONFINE gas-contaminated water where the gas can build up to explosive levels, such as in an unvented well house or a washing machine.

Return to top | Mineral Resources home page/mission statement


Info from 1999 landtrust listserve on Fiber Optic easement considerations

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 16:29:31 -0400

To: [email protected]

From: Charles Wyman <[email protected]>

Subject: Fiber Optic Easement

A gas pipeline company that holds a pipeline easement across land trust

property has approached us with a request: that we sell them an easement to install and operate fiber optic lines underground within the existing

right-of-way. They would use the lines for their own communication system, but their larger interest is in selling/leasing use of the lines to others.

It sounds like a fairly benign use of the property -- six 2" PVC pipes

will be laid up to four feet deep in a single, two-foot wide trench dug for this purpose, and then backfilled and the surface restored. The existing right-of-way is mown periodically by the company and is not ecologically sensitive. We are inclined to sell (they say they will have eminent domain authority once they sign up their first utility client), but obviously want to protect ourselves and receive fair compensation, which we can put to good use at the property.

Does anyone have experience with fiber optic easements? Any advice for the negotiations? Comparables?

Thank you.

Charlie Wyman

Land Protection Specialist

The Trustees of Reservations

572 Essex St., Beverly, MA 01915

[email protected]


From: "Glenn Lamb" <[email protected]>

To: "Charles Wyman" <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>

Subject: RE: Fiber Optic Easement

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 15:21:13 -0700

I am familiar with a couple of transcations here in the Vancouver, WA area. The local Parks Dept was offered a very low amount... I can't remember how much exactly, for the right of the fibre-optic cable company to drill under park land. The company didn't even set foot on county land. I believe it was less than $500 for several hundred feet.

A local private property owner (former land trust board member) negotiated a deal for about $10 a foot for 4500 feet or $45000 plus $5000 for restoration that he would do himself. The company ended up choosing not to cross his property but to go along the highway, which the company subsequently repaved for the county. This private property owner heard that prices ranged from $2 to $40 per foot depending on the gullibility of the donor or the neccessity of the right of way. The landowners advice was... "these lines are tremendously profitable because the original user can sell space out to whomever......our advice is to go for it!"

Glenn Lamb

Columbia Land Trust


From: [email protected]

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 19:46:19 EDT

Subject: Re: Fiber Optic Easement

We have pipelines across land we own, too. If the optics are to go alongside the existing pipeline, it may make no difference. I also don't know the situation in your area as to earth movement. In ours, however, seismic activity requires that pipeline companies do work every few years both to realign pipes, which requires digging them up, and additional work related to the corrosion of the pipes. Oil/gas companies often affect more than just their easement area, but short of legal action, there's little recourse. The staff work related to keeping up with their activites year to year quickly exceeds any dollar value of the granted easement. at the very least,you'll want to make sure that they can't locate above ground structures on your land to access/control the lines within the easement.

Since they can sell or lease the fiber optics to other companies, there's a good chance that you'll end up with an increasing number of people with keys accessing your land through gates, etc. This may not be a problem, or it may include increased chance of problems.

We're not inclined to grant new rights given the associated erosion, staff hassle, etc. If they're threatening condemnation, it may be a bluff and they may have cheaper alternatives than taking you to court. There's no doubt that you could settle for higher than appraised value, given that they'll incurr significant legal expenses in a condemnation suit. Or you might also consider whether there's something they can do for you regularly in the way of maintenance of some aspect of the land.

Seth Adams

Save Mount Diablo


Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 17:06:45 -0700

From: SFC <[email protected]>

Organization: Sierra Foothill Conservancy

Sierra Foothill Conservancy sold an easement to our local phone

company to run two conduits for fiber optic cable for about $13,000.

The easement is about 3 miles long and crosses one of our preserves. We

decided the route the easement would take and made sure the easement

does not give the the phone company the right to come back and put in

more lines later on without paying more money.

We were not in a position to negotiate a higher price because the

phone company had the option of placing the cable in the county road

right of way. They preferred to go on our land even though it cost them

about the same as it would have to go on county land because we could

give them a route with fewer rocks. The money was useful and did not

impact the preserve adversely.

Chuck Peck

Sierra Foothill Conservancy

Prather, CA


X-Sender: [email protected]

Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 11:13:04 -0400

To: Charles Wyman <[email protected]>, [email protected]

From: Tammara Van Ryn <[email protected]>

Subject: Re: Fiber Optic Easement

Mime-Version: 1.0

Sender: [email protected]

Precedence: bulk

We had a land trust in New York approached for a pipeline easement, not a fiber optic cable, and in addition to the access and other issues mentioned by previous respondents, there was a concern about invasive plant species. Some of the pipeline work was to be done through wetlands, and in order to control the spread of invasive wetland plants (purple loosestrife in this case), the land trust asked the company to set up a wash station (like a small kiddie pool) to wash any seeds and plant material from equipment that might go from a contaminated area to a non contaminated area. I'm not sure of the outcome of the project, but it was an important concern to keep in mind.

Tammara Van Ryn


PO Box 792

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 08:32:34 -0400

To: [email protected]

From: Peter Helm <[email protected]>

Subject: Re: Fiber Optic Easement

Charlie et al.

We don't have any experience with fiber optic easements but we have had

previously existing gas pipelines expand the number of underground lines

under a pre-existing pipeline easement. I have two comments which may be obvious, but haven't been mentioned.

First, it seems to me that there will need to be some final width ROW

easement so the line can be maintained, even for fiber optics. This final ROW will be greater than the the 2 foot width of the trench. I don't suspect that these guys will be going in there with hand shovels and buckets to fix a break in the line, and I am sure that other utilities will not want machinery being operated over their pipelines.

Second, by allowing the fiber optic easement (and final ROW?) will you be forcing the next pipeline (or other utility) that comes along further into the protected area? Given that one line exists, you can be certain that if another is needed, it will be sited next to the original line, especially if it's not ecologically sensitive. Typically for pipelines, construction ROW's can be 50 feet or more in some areas with final ROW's somewhere in the 35 foot wide range. Will the new pipeline push into more sensitive areas because of the fiber optics easement? Even if its not "sensitive", I would think that at some point it would be detrimental to the intent of the protected land.

My thoughts, for what their worth...

Pete Helm, Coordinator

NH Land Conservation Investment Program


From: [email protected]

Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 12:21:49 EDT

Subject: Re: Fiber Optic Easement

In a message dated 10/22/99 5:41:57 AM Pacific Daylight Time,

[email protected] writes:

<< First, it seems to me that there will need to be some final width ROW

easement so the line can be maintained, even for fiber optics. >>

This is a good recommendation. One of our problems is the easements often ask to use areas outside the ROW for maintenance and repair. For most circumstances, we say no and also restrict their access to on foot unlessthey plan it along an existing road.

Brenda Pace

Center for Natural Lands Management


Date: 03 Nov 1999 18:02:04 -0500

From: Pat Harris <[email protected]>

Subject: subsurface values

Dear Folks -

We are working with the owner of a sizeable parcel that has potentially

high subsurface mineral value. The owner would like to prevent future

development of the property for mining and would like to receive maximum

tax benefits. The owner is considering donating the land to a

non-profit group, and we are suggesting that a conservation easement be

placed on the property before it is donated. (The property has moderate- high

widlife habitat value)

Have any of you had experience with the influence of subsurface mineral

values on land appraisals for conservation purposes, particularly when the subsurface minerals may constitute a major value of a property? If so, we'd appreciate hearing from you and learning the names of any appraisers or mineral specialists whom you know to have experience in this regard. Many thanks.

Pat Harris

Southeast Alaska Land Trust

119 Seward St.

Suite 15

Juneau, AK 99801


Date: Thu, 4 Nov 99 10:55:36 -0500

From: Andy Pitz <[email protected]>

I agree with Joan regarding the necessity of restricting mining for

easement qualification. That's been a subject of some discussion in


With respect to Pat Harris' original question, we have used an appraiser

here in PA who is knowledgable in subsurface issues. While I don't know

if he would work in Alaska, he might have some thoughts as to approach or

know of a colleague who could help. His name is Vince Dowling, phone

610-388-0366. Also, the state of NJ some years ago condemned land with

considerable silica sand value that was the subject of lengthy court

proceedings. There may be someone at the Dept. of Enironmental Protection

in Trenton, NJ that could help. Sorry I don't have a specific reference


Andy Pitz

Natural Lands Trust



Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 12:44:05 -0400

To: "William S. Hecht" <[email protected]>

From: Tammara Van Ryn <[email protected]>

Subject: Re: Before U sign an oil and gas lease

Do you have a list for land trusts to consider when they are approached by oil and gas companies for a lease?

I know tht TNC has some terms they've included in leases.



From: [email protected]

Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 09:12:13 EST

Subject: final version, in saturday's mail, from land trust

To: [email protected]

CC: [email protected], [email protected] (Richard S Cahoon), [email protected],

[email protected], [email protected] (William Sandor Hecht),

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected],

[email protected] (A Carl Leopold), [email protected],

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected] (Allen H Quirk),

[email protected], [email protected] (Kristin L. Rowles),

[email protected], [email protected],

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected],

[email protected], [email protected]

MIME-Version: 1.0

X-RCPT-TO: <[email protected]>

Status: U

this will be copied to Kuhl, Baccales, Luster, Irene Brown. Other


************************************************************************ ******


31 March 2000

Commissioner John P. Cahill

Department of Environmental Conservation

50 Wolf Road

Albany NY 12233-4250

Dear Mr. Cahill:

The Finger Lakes Land Trust normally avoids expressing opinions on matters of public policy; however, the recent spate of gas well leases being considered in DEC Region 8 forces us to ask your office to review the Division of Mineral Resources' intents and activities as they potentially compromise the mission of the Division of Lands and Forests.

Files for local forester review of planned lease bids are piling into the Bath office at a rate that does not permit adequate review of potential effects on each site. No site-specific SEQR review is being undertaken; instead, the Mineral Resources program is relying on a generic SEQR of considerable age that never addressed surface uses. As things stand now, a gas company can put a well, an access road, and a cleared pipeline anywhere they want within a lease area, with no consideration of forestry management plans, recreational resources, or sensitive features for that area. Unit Management Plans can be compromised, ongoing management plans are afforded no coordination with gas company desires, and, in fact, foresters' own policies are violated once a lease is signed and the gas company has an open ticket to the leased area. Nor can foresters' review of the proposed lease bids possibly anticipate where wells, roads, or miles of cleared pipeline openings may appear.

These visible and disruptive alterations to our state forests will be with us for generations, even for wells of short duration.

For instance, a lease is proposed for Texas Hollow in Schuyler County, which includes wetlands at the base of a steep-sided forested valley, an area cherished locally as a haven for birds. A local chapter of the Finger Lakes Land Trust actively participated in negotiations a few years ago to add property to the public holdings there, better to buffer the unique bottomland. Shall we now sit idly by and watch this place turn into a crosshatch of pipelines and access roads? So much for buffering the ponds from adverse activities!

The greatest irony of all is that this totally consuming administrative

effort by local foresters nets the regional program precisely nothing for their budget while pouring huge sums into Mineral Resources. How can we ask state foresters to be good stewards of our public lands if their REAL work, already underfunded, is suspended while they perform administrative tasks which serve no end in their own realm?

While the DEC is to be congratulated for courage and foresight in undertaking

a program and performance assessment by the National Wildlife

Federation/SmartWood team, the subsequent award of certification could

certainly be called into question for some of the practices imminent in

Region 8 State Forests.

May we have your assurance of an immediate review of Mineral Resource

policies and activities as they affect our state forests and hinder the

stewardship thereof?

Irene Szabo

President of the Board

6939 Creek Road

Mt. Morris NY 14510



Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 08:46:28 -0400

From: "Randy Nemecek" <[email protected]>

To: <[email protected]> (William Sandor Hecht)

Subject: Re: question

Mime-Version: 1.0

X-RCPT-TO: <[email protected]>

Status: U


Most leases are strictly Oil and Gas interests. However, I've seen all inclusive mineral leases...Mostly pre-1980.

Landowners should beware though when entertaining an oil and gas lease.

>>> "William S. Hecht" <[email protected]> 08/22/00 10:38AM >>>


If a gas lease is for the MINERAL RIGHTS does that include everything fromthe surface down?

If it is a GAS lease is it ONLY for gas?

If its a mineral rights leaase is it for everything?

If its for everything then I would assume that if I owned the lease that I could sell the surface rights to a mining company to extract sand, gravel,and hard rock.

If this is so I wonder how many farmers realize they have sold out the sand, gravel and rock assets of their property?


bill hecht


3766 Highland Av.

Skaneateles, N.Y. 13152

Phone: 315-685-1880

Phone: 315-889-7761

e-Mail: [email protected]