Carroll County farmer wins court injunction against Chesapeake

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SALEM, Ohio — A Carroll County dairy farmer has won an injunction against Chesapeake Exploration to stop them from drilling on his property.

The injunction was filed June 29.

Robert, Carolyn, James L. and Bruce R. Starkey, all of Mechanicstown, filed the initial $1 million lawsuit June 11 against Patriot Energy, Buckeye Oil Products, Bass Energy and Chesapeake Exploration.

Agreement reached

Although Chesapeake Exploration is not allowed to begin the drilling process, an agreement was reached on both sides.

According to the judgment entry filed, Chesapeake Exploration is permitted to complete its construction of the well pad on the Starkey property.

The agreement allows Chesapeake to finish the dirt work on and around the well pad. It also allows Chesapeake Exploration to prepare a road around the pad to allow the Starkeys to navigate farm equipment around the pad. Chesapeake is also allowed to install fencing on and around the well pad.

Chesapeake is also allowed to maintain and repair pad site items as necessary. However, they are not allowed to use saline brine on the road for paving or maintenance, according to the judgment order.

No contact

In addition, the court ruled that Chesapeake has agreed to not contact the Starkeys either in person or in writing about changing the unit size until the litigation in the case is decided.

The Starkeys stated in the original lawsuit that Chesapeake has been threatening them with large daily monetary fines if they did not sign an amendment and ratification to increase the drilling unit size to 1,280 acres.

Allegations

The Starkeys are accusing Chesapeake of using a lease that is not valid and breach of contract.

The Starkeys signed a lease with Patriot Energy Partners in 2008. The lease was then sold to Buckeye Energy, Bass Energy, Wimsatt Family, LLC. and Sonata Investment Company.

The lawsuit also lists PEP Leasing LLC, of Lisbon; Andrew W. Blocksom, of Lisbon; Thomas R. Blocksom, of Columbiana; and Robert Dickey, of Lisbon. (They are listed as being part of Patriot Energy Partners and PEP.)

The lease was then sold to Chesapeake Exploration, LLC. for approximately $1,100 per acre and was given the “deep rights.”

Four percent royalty

In addition, court documents filed with the Carroll and Columbiana county recorders show that Patriot retains an overriding 4 percent royalty interest on all wells and leases they originally leased.

The lawsuit contends the lease was invalid because the leases were notarized by Andrew Blocksom, Thomas Blocksom and Robert Dickey despite each of them having an economic interest in the lease.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

4 Comments

  1. John N says:

    I am happy for these people to have found a technicality to use against the gas drillers,but, for the courts to allow them to do ANYTHING further until the litigation is final only leads me to believe that there WILL be wells drilled there eventually. More and more common,average people need to start standing TOGETHER against this horiffic industrialization of our lands and country sides, causing permanent damage to the water and air that future generations will need to rely on. Get off yer butts and say something already !

    • R Thomas says:

      I don’t understand what you expected when you leased. It is not free money and nobody twisted anyone’s arm to sign a lease. If you have a bad lease, it is the fault of whoever signed it. If you are worried about the land, water, air, and country sides, DON’T LEASE. If you are one of the family’s receiving a royalty check already, how hypocritical of you to bash the gas company while depositing their check in your account.

  2. R Thomas says:

    I don’t understand what you expected when you leased. It is not free money and nobody twisted anyone’s arm to sign a lease. If you have a bad lease, it is the fault of whoever signed it. If you are worried about the land, water, air, and country sides, DON’T LEASE. If you are one of the family’s receiving a royalty check already, how hypocritical of you to bash the gas company while depositing their check in your account.

  3. okiestorm1 says:

    I agree with R.Thomas. people need to stop trying to take down the oil and gas drilling. We need this, our country needs this. Most people don’t seem to understand that after a well sight is drilled and they are done with it the company replants back every thing,they rebuild every thing.Do people up in this area even know how many jobs are created by the iol and gas production,and yes local jobs as well plus all the money the companies and thier employees put into the towns.They also build new roads and fix the ones that were messed up before they even got here.I’ve heard so much about the oil and gas companies not hireing locals,,that is soo not true either.

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