The Bradford County Commissioners announced on Wednesday that they were happy to learn that the US Attorney’s Office had followed up on the commissioners’ ongoing request to investigate post-production costs being deducted from natural gas royalties being paid to landowners.
Commissioners Doug McLinko, Daryl Miller and Mark Smith sent a letter to the US Attorney’s office on July 14 addressing numerous reports from their constituents of alleged violations of federal law by Chesapeake that were resulting in puny royalty checks.
This week it was reported by national media that the Department of Justice subpoenaed records from Chesapeake Energy regarding excessive post production cost deductions.
The Bradford County Commissioners welcome this development and hope the federal investigation brings an end to very unreasonable and questionable deductions from landowners royalty payments.
In a press release issued from the commissioners office in Towanda on Nov. 12, an unnamed commissioner was quoted as stating, “Although too many property owners have been abused by excessive post production cost deductions, we hope this investigation by the Department of Justice will result in relief for Bradford County farmers, seniors, and working families who have been taken advantage by out-of-state corporations.”
Since first being made aware of excessive post production cost deductions, the commissioners have demanded that legislation be passed to protect land owners.
According to the Commissioners, “The state legislature has failed to protect us. We’ve heard from constituents who have received checks for less than a dollar for their royalties. These business practices are not only unethical, but might involve violations of federal law, which is why the commissioners brought the matter of excessive post production costs to the attention of the US Attorney’s office.”
The commissioners renewed their stance that the legislature needs to act now to end excessive post production cost deductions, noting that the practice has been going on for too long.
It was noted that the commissioners remain strong in their support of the safe and responsible development of Marcellus Shale, but also remain committed to ensuring that landowners are treated fairly.