Is your property leased?
If you do not know the status of your property, you find out if your property is leased, and obtain a copy at the county recorder of deeds.
Check your county's website for online accessibility. If you live in Allegheny County, you can consult the Fractracker Alliance Allegheny County Lease Map.
If you live in a county where lease records cannot be obtained online, you'll likely need to visit the Recorder of Deeds in-person.
Landowner and Community Protection Plan: Get Answers Before You Lease
If your property is leased...
Consult an attorney to protect your rights during any negotiations. You could also investigate the option of setting up a conservation easement of land covenant. Keep in mind you still have rights to a clean environment and your surface property.
If your property is NOT leased...
If you live in an area that oil and gas companies are exploring, and you do not have a lease, it is likely you will be approached to sign a lease. Many land owners struggle with deciding whether or not to sign a lease, but few regret waiting until they learn more.
Check out the other articles on leases and fracking's impacts to learn more
Resources and people to connect with
- County Recorder of Deeds
- An attorney specializing in land use and zoning
- Environmental Integrity Project's Citizen Toolkit: -- Questions to ask before signing an oil and gas lease
- Protect Our Children Coalition's Organizing ABCs: -- Part 2 of Section G, "Legal Considerations"
Things to consider:
- Your mineral rights could have already been leased before you purchased your property.
- If you are renting property, your rights may be different. You should have a conversation with your landlord.
- If your property's mineral rights are not leased and an industry representative comes, you have the right to negotiate the terms of your lease. You also have the right to negotiate better environmental measures and protections.