EQT lawsuit would upend long-standing natural gas leasing reforms

Editor’s Note: This article was produced in partnership with the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

By KEN WARD JR.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Linda Stimmell poses for a portrait with a briefcase filled with a small portion of the many documents she possesses inside her home in Morgantown, W.V., on Thursday, July 19, 2018.
(Gazette-Mail photo by Craig Hudson)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Linda Stimmell gets upset every time EQT Corp.’s checks arrive in the mail. The energy giant extracts natural gas from beneath the Stimmell family’s old farm in Doddridge County, West Virginia, under the terms of a lease signed when Teddy Roosevelt was president.

The royalty checks Stimmell receives from two “Bates Wells,” named for her great-great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Bates, amount to just $9 and $3 each quarter.

The lease Bates signed more than a century ago with Carnegie Natural Gas Co. of Pittsburgh allowed legendary industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s company to drill for, produce and sell as much natural gas as Carnegie wanted. In exchange, Bates got a flat fee of $300 a year per well.

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