Mon October 17, 2011
Marcellus Shale

Cortland clerk fights abusive gas leasing practices

Cortland County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin with a folder of gas drilling leases. Larkin has been turning away gas company documents she doesn't believe have been drafted correctly.
Emma Jacobs WRVO

Elizabeth Larkin's a stickler for the letter of the law. That's made her a bulwark against abusive land leasing practices.

Larkin is Cortland's county clerk, and like others across the state, is one of the few people who sees the contracts made between drilling companies and landowners. Leases are considered private contracts, and therefore aren't overseen by any agency at the state level.

As a result, Larkin says she sees companies try to record improper documents all the time, including adding five year extensions to leases that explicitly rule them out.

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