TOWANDA, Pa. -- Landowners in the northern tier who claim they have not been getting paid what they’ve been promised by natural gas companies told their stories on Thursday night directly to the top law enforcement officer in the state.
People in Bradford County said the meeting at Towanda High School with attorney general Josh Shapiro was a huge relief in the midst of a confusing and costly situation.
Shapiro asked people for patience, but he’s hopeful they will get their money back from Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko Petroleum.
“I am really, really confident in the hand that we've been dealt,” Shapiro said.
Some of the people in the audience said they were told they’d make thousands of dollars if they signed a lease with natural gas companies Chesapeake Energy or Anadarko Petroleum. However, landowners said they didn’t get what they were owed because the gas companies would deduct from their check.
“It's very frustrating. We are currently probably well over $150,000 in deductions,” John Capwell of Terry Township said.
“They would send one person in who would promise you the world and then all of a sudden someone else would come in and say, ‘well they didn't know what they were talking about when they promised you the world,’” Elizabeth Beebe of Tuscarora Township said.
The attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against the two gas companies about four years ago. His office alleges the companies treated customers unfairly and agreed not to compete so the two could control the market.
People from Bradford County went all the way to Harrisburg to talk to lawmakers years ago, but on Thursday night lawyers from the attorney general’s office came to them.
“I am very, very happy that they came and took the time to come and that they're still working on this case and moving it forward,” Beebe said.
The office of the attorney general said it has received about 500 complaints from people who said they didn't get what they were promised from these gas companies. They hope more people who are affected come forward.
“We've got experts waiting to talk to you, help you, and work you through this process, but we can't help you if we don't know that you're out there. So please, let us know as soon as you can,” Shapiro said.
Right now, landowners are waiting for a ruling from the Commonwealth Court. The attorney general’s office said it doesn’t know when the court will make that ruling.
In the meantime, Shapiro said he is preparing for trial.
He urges anyone who might be affected to call his team at 717-787-4530.
People can also file a complaint online by going to www.attorneygeneral.gov/landowners