On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported its investigation of how Chesapeake Energy has been feverishly working in West Virginia to maximize its ability to drill for natural gas in shale deposits, using business methods that can only be labelled greedy with total disregard for the communities in which the company is operating. By the way, Chesapeake Energy took Sen. Bob Rucho, a Republican from Mecklenburg County and Rep. Mike Hager, a Republican from Cleveland and Rutherford counties to tour their operations twice in the past few months.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reviewed hundreds of leases and found several disturbing business practices including:
• land swaps and flipping leases that went untold to the public or landowners.
• use of foreign companies and multinationals to fund the acquisition of leases, resulting in multiple owners of a single rig.
• creation of “units” where individual properties are legally joined into one, complicating leases and royalties.
• leases that specify that all post-production costs may be deducted from property owner royalties.
• expanded the definition of unforeseeable, catastrophic events to extend leases, sometimes indefinitely.
And this is what Senator Rucho calls “energy independence and economic independence.”