Gas Driller Signs Gram, Cuts Grandkids from Lease

MONTROSE, PA – As she lived out her final years in a nursing home, 94-year-old Bernice Price had a visitor one day, a stranger interested in her family’s wooded, 115-acre spread. Would she care to lease it to one of the nation’s biggest energy companies?

It was a paltry offer, only $50 an acre. Price accepted it, signing a 10-year lease giving Chesapeake Energy Corp. the right to sink gas wells on the former dairy farm in northern Pennsylvania.

While other landowners living atop the gigantic Marcellus Shale gas field made similar bad deals as the gas rush began in 2007 – signing industry-friendly leases for a relative pittance – Price’s leasing story came with a twist: She wasn’t the only person who had a say in what happened to the land. Her three grandchildren shared ownership and they knew nothing about the agreement.

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