Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Whiteman v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C.

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20205
Nos. 12-1790, (4th Cir., 09/04/2013)

The Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision dismissing farmer's West Virginia common law trespass claims against a natural gas company. The landowners sought an injunction and damages stemming from on the company's drilling and operation of three natural gas wells on surface property owned by the farmers. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the company, and the farmers appealed. But the lower court correctly held that creating drill waste pits was reasonably necessary for recovery of natural gas and did not impose a substantial burden on the farmers' surface property. In addition, the creation of the pits was consistent with the company's rights under its lease, was a practice common to natural gas wells in West Virginia, and was consistent with requirements of applicable rules and regulations for the protection of the environment.