Drilling Without Consent Allowed by State Law
Landowners who are not leasing their land to oil and gas companies for natural gas drilling may actually not have much to say on the matter.
According to Louis Chodkiewicz, a resident of Broadview Heights and who fought for two years, suffering from heart attack in the process, said that a wellhead now sits some 175 feet from his property. There are also four others like it, which is owned by other companies, sitting within 500 feet.
The state of Ohio is one of 38 other states in the nation that offer gas and oil companies with l loophole to acquire property and mineral rights, which is known as mandatory pooling.
Chodkiewicz, said, “How can the state of Ohio make me a partner with a company I want nothing to do with? It’s not a choice, it’s an ultimatum: ‘Sign it or we take it.”
According to the Ohio law, which was in effect since the mid-1960s, a compulsory pooling order can be applied for if there is insufficiency in the shape or size of a tract of land for drilling a well and the “landowner has been unable to form a drilling unit on a just and equitable basis.”
According to Tom Stewart of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, “over-drilling became a problem in the 1960s with landowners drilling wells close to property lines in efforts to draw minerals from their neighbors’ properties.”
He said, “You had rigs all over. Until someone said ‘You don’t need eight straws in a bottle of Coke to drain it,’ so they put in spacing requirements.”
Laws enacted during the 1960s helped resolve issues on over-drilling. In the process, however, they constrained the mineral rights of landowners with properties lesser than 20 acres.