I am a non resident of Kansas and own property with the surface rights only. I purchased the property 6 years ago for the purpose of hunting deer. The property is 100% treed. There were 3 active oil wells at the time, since then a new gas and oil company purchased the drilling rights and have begun opening old well sites on the property. In doing so they have bulldozed approximately 100 trees some of which were large trees. Pushed over additional trees on the access road into the property widening the road. Destroyed the cattle gate entering the property. And pushed several tons of dirt and debris into the creek in the center of the property completely blocking the flow of water. In addition they leave trash on the property, anytime a belt breaks on the pumps the old belt ends up in the puddle of water/oil that surrounds the well.
Just wanted to know if anyone has had any similar issues and if as a surface rights only owner do I have any course of action?
Yes sir you have rights, contact the oil and gas commission, give them the operators name, and describe your damages. I would write the operator a certified letter, putting a price on your trees and damages, and that you expect to be compensated within 30 days, or your are going to turn this matter over to your attorney. I think the oil and gas commission will get their attention.
Sir, I also hunt some in Kansas, mostly for turkey. But if what I have suggested don’t work which I think it will, the EPA and the Corp. Of Engineers, would get them in bad trouble for blocking a waterway. You may use this info, in your letter for damages, just threaten to contact these 2 agencies. This is very bad what they have done to you, I think you could be nicely rewarded for damages. I also would take photos, of the damages now, and if needed you could provide photos to the company, or your attorney. be sure to choose an attorney with a lot of integrity, some of these operators will contact your attorney, and try and work a deal that favors the operator not you. This happened to me in Arkansas.
Thanks again. The creek they blocked is a seasonal creek and only flows with rain, however it does have about a dozen holes on it that hold water permanently because they contain fish. I dont know if the EPA will get involved with that type of water way. I live in Pa and they would crucify you here for an act like that!!