‘A natural gas company is building a gas well on my neighbor’s property, to which they own the mineral rights. Rather than build an access road on their property, the gas company wants to use an already existing easement on my property. However, unlike the company that owns the well the road accesses, they will not be traveling up there on rare occasions. With the new well, several huge trucks will be coming in and out 24/7 for months. The company is trying to get us to sign a paper allowing them to use the road, and has offered us
$5000 to build a fence to protect our dogs. If they are asking us to sign, does that mean we can refuse them, or will they just ignore us if we refuse and use the road anyhow?’
Well, I can’t tell you what the company will do, but they certainly shouldn’t use the road without permission. Who does the current easement belong to, and what is the scope of that easement? Most
likely, it belongs to your neighbor or to the company that owns the existing well. It may or may not be transferable to the gas company. It may or may not specify the amount of use expected.
More likely than not, the gas company is asking for a new right and an expansion of the allowable use of the easement. You can certainly grant them this, and are free to negotiate the price to do so. However,
if you hold out for too much, the company may decide that some other legal maneuver will be cheaper–or they may give up entirely, leaving you with a very unhappy neighbor.