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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chesapeake Screws Land Owners

"If you or I did that we’d be in jail” --third-generation Pennsylvania dairy farmer Jim Drake

A Pro Publica investigation shows how oil and gas company Chesapeake--once run by Aubrey McClendon, dubbed "America's most reckless billionaire" by Forbes--found a surefire strategy to raise the cash it needed to come back from near-failure: slash the royalties it paid property owners to drill on their land.
Confident he was in good hands, Drake endured the trucks, dirt and noise that accompanied gas drilling and signed agreements that allowed Chesapeake to run pipelines across his fields. To transport the gas from Drake’s well, Chesapeake built a pipeline that stretched south from within spitting distance of the New York border, cutting a wide swath through the forest. Then it went down beyond the white-spired church in Litchfield, and ran some 35 miles further to its handoff at the Tennessee interstate pipeline near the Susquehanna River.

What Drake didn’t know at the time was that the pipeline was more than a way to move his gas to market. It would become part of a strategy to make more money off of Drake himself.
--Barbara Bedway

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