Our end-of-year countdown continues with the third and fourth most popular web stories.* This time, they’re both video features. In fourth place is our story about people blocked from public roads and public forests by security guards working for a gas company.
Our third most popular web story is a follow-up with landowners who say gas drilling giant Chesapeake Energy is stealing from them. The company has been accused of underpaying gas royalties from its leaseholders in Pennsylvania and other states.
StateImpact Pennsylvania documents people being harassed on public roads by security guards.
Update: The retiree profiled in this story, Bob Deering, is still thinking of moving because of the disturbances he deals with from nearby gas development. However, since this story was published, he has been able to travel more freely on the road to his home. The lawsuit mentioned (from the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation) is still pending in Commonwealth Court.
Most of the company’s Pennsylvania operations are in Bradford County. It’s a rural area stretching along the New York border; it has more Marcellus shale gas wells than any other part of the state. StateImpact Pennsylvania first talked with landowners there in June 2013. A year-and-a-half later, we went back.
Landowners complain Chesapeake is still cheating them and Harrisburg has done little to stop it.
Update: Chesapeake Energy’s royalty practices are currently the subject of inquires by the U.S. Department of Justice and Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s office. A controversial bill in Harrisburg aimed at limiting oil and gas companies from withholding royalty money for processing and transporting fees went virtually nowhere. It will be reintroduced in 2015.
*The countdown is based on web traffic statistics to the StateImpact Pennsylvania site.