Help for Surface Owners
Essentially, there are two points of view with regard to coalbed methane gas development.
- There are folks that own surface property.
- There are folks that own or lease minerals below someone else's surface and, in some cases, there are folks that have both.
For the most part, the lines are drawn between folks that own surface property who do not own the minerals below their surface and folks that own or lease the minerals below some one else's surface.
The focus here will be on helping those folks that own their surface and do not own the minerals below them. They will be developed on whether they like it or not. They are the most at risk and at the greatest disadvantage.
If you own surface property in Sheridan, Johnson or Campbell Counties and there is methane gas below your surface, you are at risk for development. You must get informed and educated!
You will need an attorney to represent you in your negotiations with the oil and gas companies. You can not legally stop development of minerals below your surface if you do not own the minerals. If you fight the developers they can take you to court, have your property condemned and then develop the methane gas.
With the help of an attorney you will need to negotiate a Surface Damage Agreement with the developer. You may also have to negotiate a Right of Way Agreement. We can not emphasize enough that this is a NEGOTIATION. The oil and gas companies DO NOT have to accommodate you in your request for damage compensation. If they want to come on your land they can. Currently there are more than seventy oil and gas companies developing methane gas in the Powder River Basin.