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Chesapeake Responds To Whiteman

By Staff | Sep 1, 2010

At the July 27 Wetzel County Commission meeting Martin Whiteman Jr. and his family met to make the commission aware of the detrimental situation they were facing due to the Marcellus Shale oil and gas activity that had taken over their land, livelihood, and clean, vital resources.

Whiteman stated that since the first arrangement with Chesapeake Energy to set up a well site on one of Whiteman’s farms the family had been allegedly bullied and threatened by other oil and gas contractors and land-men about acquiring other land on the property.

At the meeting Whiteman had resolved that unless he was financially compensated for further drilling on his property, he and his family would have to leave the area. The Whitemans lamented they were not able to farm as they formerly did, and furthermore that such recent activity had led to undrinkable water and unbreathable air-problems they intentionally tried to avoid in making the choice to live in Silver Hill.

Following Whiteman’s complaints addressed at that meeting (published in the Wetzel Chronicle Aug. 18), Stacey Brodak, director of corporate development for Chesapeake Energy, released the following information:

Since April 2007 Whiteman received compensation related to the use of his property in accord with agreements he voluntarily signed. “We believe that we have improved the value of his property by improving access,” said Brodak. “When we first arrived, you needed a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to the house.” Brodak commented Chesapeake Energy built a road into a parcel that Whiteman could use for equipment to cut hay and that the work on his property did not diminish the use of the property. “In fact, he asked us to clear the hillside above the access for an additional hay field, which we did,” Brodak added.

According to Chesapeake Energy Whiteman never made anyone aware of any concerns about his water or air quality. “Chesapeake Energy’s land agents are honest and straightforward and make every effort to communicate with landowners constructively,” Brodak stated. “We regret Mr. Whiteman is dissatisfied, but we believe we have treated Mr. Whiteman fairly.”