LONDON, Ohio — Mineral rights leasing in eastern Ohio may be slowing, but the desire to build pipelines to the planned wells is growing.
Now that many landowners have leased their property and wells are being developed, the next stage is getting the gas from the well to the marketplace and that will require pipelines.
Pipeline easements were being discussed by many at last week’s Farm Science Review. Ohio State University Professor Doug Southgate said pipeline easements are proving to be more difficult to obtain because they are less lucrative to property owners and are more intrusive on an agriculture operation.
Peggy Kirk Hall, director Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program, suggested landowners refrain from signing anything when first approached about a pipeline easement.
“Don’t sign anything right away,” she said. “You do have time, regardless of what they tell you.”
Another tip she gave was to take the time and walk the property with the landman trying to obtain the easement.
“And use long-term impact thinking when they show you the proposed line for the pipe,” Hall said.
She said landowners should consider who will be responsible for the upkeep of the line and if landowners will get reimbursed if the company has to come in and dig the land up again to take care of the pipeline.
She also suggested having something put in the lease for additional payment if they need to replace the pipeline with a larger size of pipe.
Hall said landowners should be able to ask for reasonable compensation for the easement depending on the circumstances and good management of the land in the future.
One question raised about the prospect of the pipeline easements is if landowners will lose their CAUV status.
Hall said a pipeline easement should not force a farmer to be kicked out of the CAUV program, if the land is put back into agricultural use after the line construction.
“Typically, it goes back into the CAUV program, because the land goes back into agricultural use such as a pasture or hay field or some other type of production,” said Hall.
She added that there is an allowance in the CAUV code for temporary construction. The land can be idle for one year while construction is under way and not lose the CAUV status.
Hall said one way to ensure you don’t have an economic loss is to have language inserted into the agreement that says if you lose the CAUV status on that portion of the property, the owners of the pipeline are responsible for the cost.
Hall also told the group that there is competition for water, and landowners should not be surprised if they get approached for water use rights, which would also merit compensation.