Is Fracking Stealing From Your Neighbors?

Jul 31, 2013

Fracking diagram

Fracking has become an industry standard, allowing access to stores of oil and gas that previously were inaccessible.  However, a State Impact Texas story poses the question,”Is fracking stealing from your neighbors?”

A United States District judge says yes.  John Preston Bailey sat the bench on a case between a landowner and a company drilling horizontally for natural gas in Wheeling, West Virginia.  The company’s legal team cited Coastal Oil & Gas v. Garza Energy Trust.  Bailey wrote this about the Texas case, “The Garza opinion gives oil and gas operators a blank check to steal from the small landowner.” 

Keith Strama, Texas Oil and Gas Association attorney, says a change in ruling would be a legal nightmare.  “That would be a very difficult dispute to resolve through science. The court recognized the best way to resolve this is to allow everyone to benefit from the rule of capture and if there’s drainage occurring, their remedy is go drill a well.”

Landowners like Ranjana Bhandari, living in Arlington, doesn’t want drilling.  Bhandari and her family turned down an offer from an energy company, then lost the challenge with state regulators.  She says, “We could have gone to court but we don’t have the resources to go up against a company.”

Who owns the oil and gas in Texas?  The debate continues.