That disparity in how royalties are paid spans the Marcellus Shale, and it’s popping up in other oil- and gas-rich regions across the United States. It stems from a complex web of laws, court rulings and legal jargon that determines how money is distributed to property owners who allow energy companies to tap the minerals below their land.
Clark and Barrett might have started out with similar hopes, but their different experiences show how tough it can be for landowners to navigate the gas business — and how resolutions are hard to come by.
WATCH: Why Some Strike it Rich in the Natural Gas Patch, and Others Strike Out
This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WESA, WITF and WHYY.