MONTROSE — For the first time Susquehanna County has agreed to lease county-owned land to the natural gas industry.
The county commissioners approved the lease with Cabot Oil and Gas this week to get the gas under land near Montrose.
We asked taxpayers what they think about the county now getting gas money.
Thousands of properties throughout the northern tier are leased to the natural gas industry to access all the gas underground. But up until now, Susquehanna County itself had no direct agreement with any gas company.
This week, the county commissioners made a deal with Cabot Oil and Gas to lease its land around the county recycling center and jail in South Montrose.
“There are different opinions and we need to respect everyone’s opinions but I think as a whole, it’s benefitting the county,” said Debbie Mills of Montrose.
Mills was dropping off recyclables. Now Cabot can access the gas far underneath this facility.
The county leased 12 acres for nearly $43,000. It will get 18.75 percent royalties from the gas that comes from there.
“It’s a great opportunity for everyone and I think it’s good for the county as well,” Kyle Hanjaras said.
Hanjaras runs the Muncheeze food truck. He says his business benefits from the gas activity he thinks the county coffers should, too.
“It brings a lot of business to the county, I think. It helps me out, it helps everyone out, in my opinion.”
You won’t be seeing a big drilling rig towering over the county jail or recycling center. The lease the county signed only allows Cabot to get the gas under the land horizontally, the way they are drilling a lot of other properties around here.
“I’d say do it, but don’t pollute it,” said Chris Dwyer of Friendsville.
Some we talked with want to be sure any gas activity is done safely.
Mark Decker pointed out that school districts leased land but taxpayers still dealt with tax hikes.
“It would be nice if we all own the land, we saw a benefit from it as the people who own it, but apparently someone else must own it. I’m not sure where the money goes. We never got an explanation but that’s what will happen up here,” said Mark Decker of Springville.
None of the county commissioners were available to comment on the county’s new natural gas lease with Cabot.