* About 4,400 leases to be renegotiated
* New York reconsiders its ban on fracking
NEW YORK, June 14 Chesapeake Energy has agreed
to allow thousands of natural gas leases in New York state to be
renegotiated, the attorney general announced on Thursday.
Chesapeake Energy and other companies flocked to New York's
gas-rich southern tier over the past decade, but a ban on the
natural gas extraction technique known as "fracking" in the
state in 2008 allowed companies to declare force majeure and
extend idle leases.
But now, as New York considers opening its borders to
drilling again, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is allowing
more than 4,400 landowners, many of whom opposed the extensions,
to return to the table and negotiate new lease terms, he said in
a press release.
"This agreement will provide a safety net for thousands of
landowners by allowing them the opportunity to negotiate fairer
lease terms, both financial and environmental, regardless of
their existing contracts," Schneiderman said.
The agreement includes leases which have expired or will
expire prior to Dec. 31, 2013. Chesapeake will pay $250,000 for
the costs of the investigation, the release said.
New York's Department of Environmental Protection is
currently considering allowing fracking in the state and expects
to come up with a plan sometime this year. New York sits atop a
portion of the Marcellus shale, one of the biggest deposits of
natural gas in the country.
But fracking, the process to extract natural gas from shale
rock, has received widespread opposition in New York as
residents worry about the chemicals used and the potential to
contaminate ground water.