"Gas Leasing in Western Maryland Spurs Calls for Reform"

"OAKLAND, Md. -- The first natural gas well has yet to be drilled into the Marcellus shale deposits underlying Western Maryland, but ripples already are being felt here from an industry that has brought wealth — and controversy — in neighboring states where drilling has proceeded apace."

"Complaints from landowners about misleading pressure tactics by drilling company agents and concern that widespread leasing for mineral rights could hurt home sales are prompting calls for legislation to change the state's laws on leasing of land for gas and possibly other energy development.

"Basically, these leases should be protecting both the landowners and the community, and they're just not," said Natalie Atherton, acting director of CitizenShale, a group recently formed to see that the residents in this economically depressed mountain region are not short-changed if gas is found, and in any case aren't left with contaminated streams and wells and other harm."

Timothy B. Wheeler reports for the Baltimore Sun December 31, 2011.

Source: Baltimore Sun, 01/03/2012