The parent company of Columbia Gas contends that is has a long standing lease for natural gas storage and exploration rights to the property in question. That's why the company has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to gain access to the property so that the company can proceed with a seismic analysis of the property.
The home of 67 year old Mary Ellen McConnell sits amid 125 acres of rolling hills that McConnell and her late husband purchased back in 1976. The problem for her is that the natural gas right to the land had been leased as far back as 1959. McConnell says she wanted to cancel those gas rights starting back in 2008 because she now wants to keep the land as it is. But the gas company says she has no right to do that.
But there is a legal question over if those gas right are still in effect.
That's why Columbia Gas Transmission L.L.C. has filed a 51 page lawsuit in federal court in Johnstown seeking to have the court affirm the company's right to access the property for the purpose of conducting a seismic analysis and survey. The company wants to determine if the property is suitable to be part of what is being called the Artemas A and B gas storage fields. The move has some neighboring property owners worried as well.
McConnell says she has been sending back the gas company's lease payments of $2 an acre for the last couple of years. While McConnell says she will do all in her power to prevent the gas company for coming on to her land to do it's seismic testing, she says she is without resources to fight the company in federal court. Because she says she cannot afford to fight the gas company in court, she does not plan to attend a court hearing in Johnstown set for next week .