December 10, 2015 / 12:18 AM / 4 years ago

Pennsylvania sues Chesapeake over fracking leases with landowners

A Natural Gas rig operated by Chesapeake is picture in Bradford County, Pennsylvania just outside the town of Wyalusing, January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Brett Carlsen

(Reuters) - The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office on Wednesday said it filed a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy Corp and its affiliates over claims that the companies underpaid landowners who leased land for fracking.

The lawsuit alleges that the Oklahoma City- based oil and natural gas producer tricked landowners into signing leases in the Marcellus Shale region and paid royalties less than agreed upon.

“We strongly disagree with Attorney General (Kathleen) Kane’s baseless allegations and will vigorously contest them in the appropriate forum,” the company’s strategic communications director Gordon Pennoyer said in an email.

Kathleen Kane is the Attorney General of Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit, filed in the Bradford County Court, seeks restitution for thousands of consumers, civil penalties and legal costs.

In fracking, water, sand and chemicals are injected into underground shale formations to produce oil and gas reserves that were otherwise inaccessible.

Reporting by Apeksha Nair and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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