I don’t think energy companies are used to anyone saying no to them:
NARROWBURG — A Supreme Court judge nullified a gas-drilling lease signed by a Narrowsburg property owner, ruling that the lease violated a ban on commercial uses in the homeowners association’s covenants.
Judge James Gilpatric allowed owner Jeff Klansky to keep a signing bonus paid by Houston, Texas-based Cabot Oil & Gas in his Aug. 18 ruling.
Gilpatric accepted the Weiden Lake Property Owner’s Association argument that Klansky’s lease with the company violated “clear and unambiguous” covenants prohibiting commercial activities like gas exploration and drilling.
“It’s a very pristine environment, and we’re working diligently to try and keep it pristine,” Richard Marcel, the association’s president, said Friday.
The association filed suit after Klansky agreed to give Cabot a five-year right to “explore for, drill for, produce and market oil, gas and other hydrocarbons” on his 66-acre property.
The agreement was dated July 3, 2008, about one month after the board approved and distributed to property owners a resolution reaffirming the ban on commercial activities.
The board cites covenant language limiting property uses to single-family homes or agricultural or recreational use. The covenants also ban any “commercial fishing enterprises or fee-based boat launching facilities or any other commercial uses.”
“If you have to rank fracking, I think that represents a significant threat to the environment,” said Marcel.
Gilpatric also rejected Cabot’s effort to reclaim the $99,255 signing bonus it paid to Klansky. The judged concluded that Cabot “made a calculated and knowing decision” to sign the lease “with full knowledge” of the covenants and the association’s position.