The Landman Cometh: Property Questions within the NEMW Natural Gas Debate

Unconventional natural gas development—using horizontal drilling with a method known as hydraulic fracturing—is burgeoning in the Northeast and Midwest region. While the prospect of a new, ample source of relatively clean energy for the region is attractive, the mounting commercial pressure to extract natural gas reserves using the “fracking” process also raises a variety of important questions for the region’s policy- makers and planners. Among these questions is how to best protect the rights of landowners—both surface and mineral—in the milieu of intense development pressure. This Note to the Coalitions provides basic information on property rights in the context of growing natural gas development, describes policy responses to the property debate in our region, and highlights relevant property rights concerns from regional news items.

2012 Note to the Coalitions Natural-Gas Property Debate