Carroll County's Neider Says Leasing Land Has Been a Nightmare, Energy Companies Are Dishonest

From The Herald in Sharon:
Neider, 53, is a Carroll County farmer who's spent a lifetime working his 596 acres. He called the shale play there a "blessing and a curse."
"This morning, as I look at our county, everyone's got black gold fever," Neider said. "I'm not going to lie to you, we've made a lot of money."
But it's come with the cost of dealing with yet-to-be-known long-term impacts along with devilish industry executives, which Neider said is the worst part so far.
"The curse is dealing with these people, dealing with the deception, dealing with the lies," he said. "There was a period of time last summer (when) there was somebody on our doorstep every day for three weeks straight."
Different men in suits would come at different times to discuss this deal or that deal: in addition to the drilling lease, there were people after water use rights and others who wanted to expand the unit size which limits the number of wells that can be drilled in a specific area.
"And to be honest with you, I think this is all by design," Neider said. "To wear the landowner down and say 'Where to do want me to sign?'."
If he had his druthers, he'd rather not have done it, he said.
"I'd rather leave my farm alone," Neider said. "I don't care about the money."
The drilling and fracking and restoring the land to what it was is a long-term process that's sold as a simple deal by oil executives, Neider said.
"This is a 20- or 30- or 50-year process," he said. "If you value your land, this is a nightmare."
Chesapeake Energy holds the lease to Neider's land and "I don't trust them," Neider said.
It's up to the property owner to educate themselves and trust their instincts about proposals, Neider said. He's used lawyers, but said a person can't afford to use one for the many steps he's been through in the last three years.
Instead, he's learned through experience about the issues, and shares his information with other property owners in Carroll County, he said.  His advice: question everything and expect to be lied to.
"When you have to deal with them behind the scenes it's like dealing with a snake in the grass," Neider said. "I told my wife I feel like I have to take a shower after dealing with these people."
Read the rest of the article, including comments from Paul Feezel, head of Carroll County Concerned Citizens, by clicking here.

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