The following ran in the Oct. 31, 2011, edition of the Wall Street Journal. Law professor John Lowe provided expertise for this story.
November 4, 2011
Jim Grande is facing a lawsuit over the mineral rights on the Pennsylvania farm he has owned since 1965.
New drilling techniques have made it possible for energy companies to extract natural gas from a layer of rock deep underground called the Marcellus Shale, and the companies have paid Pennsylvania property owners billions of dollars since 2008 for the right to do so.
But because surface rights to properties in the state are sometimes sold separately from rights to the underlying minerals, such as coal, or oil and gas, and because mineral law in Pennsylvania remains murky, lawsuits are mounting....
"You have all of this money sloshing around, and unanswered questions are getting addressed," Mr. Lowe said.