Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is one of those terms that seems like it belongs in
a psychology handbook. It’s something that we may not always be aware
of, but it really defines our entire work experience.

Similar to investing in a quality mattress because, as they say, “You
spend half of your life on it,” the prudent businesswoman occasionally
examines their corporate culture because they spend the majority of her
waking hours at the office.

Of course, part of the corporate culture involves legal preparations:
making sure that the business has the appropriate policies in place.
These take the form of employee handbooks, antidiscrimination policies,
sexual harassment policies and the like. Generally, these are used by
either human resources departments in hiring and firing …

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Conservation Easements

Conservation easements – increasingly popular in recent years – allow
landowners to permanently preserve property from development. They
allow continued private ownership with certain tax benefits with the
comforting knowledge that a beneficial usage will continue for future

For agencies or governments representing the public, they provide a
way to preserve open spaces, provide water conservation and protect wild
lands at a much-reduced cost as compared to outright purchase.

Conservation easements come in several flavors according to their
purpose. A landowner may grant an easement for the protection of habitat
for endangered plants and/or animals, for the protection of water, or
for the protection of farmland. A multi-generational farmer may desire
that his farmland never be turned into a neighborhood and …

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Pipeline Close-Up

Pipeline Installation Photographs
The following image is a close-up of a pipeline in Eastern Ohio that was being installed in the early fall of 2017.

You can see the welded section (red), the remainder of the pipe (green), and the markings done by welding inspectors. In this instance you can see the word ‘repair’ along with some specific references to dates and inspector numbers. On my client’s properties with high pressure FERC pipelines, I require that 100% of the welds be x-rayed in advance. This is a good illustration as to why I require this. Had this weld not been inspected, the pipeline would have certainly blown out during the water pressure test. Generally, FERC pipelines are tested with water at 110% …

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Pipeline Construction Issues

Pipeline Construction Issues
As a pipeline attorney, I spend a lot of time impressing upon potential clients the importance of having a rock-solid pipeline contract (this can be an Easement or Right-of-Way). The importance of a thorough, specific pipeline contract cannot be overstated. There is something else I say that often surprises landowners, and that is, “no matter how solid I make the contract, neither of us can control what happens on your property during construction.”
Over the course of the last twelve years, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with respect to pipeline construction. I’ve seen A+ operations and F- ones. And the reality is that even the best contract in the world cannot control the …

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Things Land Agents Say – Part Two

This is a second post in a series describing common promises or other statements land agents make to entice landowners to signing leases, easements, or other agreements relating to oil and gas or pipeline transactions. 
Click here to view part one. 
“The crops will grow right over it, you won’t even know it’s there!” While the first part of this statement may be true, the second part is a loaded gun. True, most pipeline contracts allow farmers to plant crops on top of the easement. But trust me, the farmers will know that it’s there. Under the best case scenario circumstances a farmer will suffer yield loses in the first four years. Year one is construction. Year two is reclamation …

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Things Land Agents Say

Things that Land Agents Say – Part One
Part Two can be viewed here.
Today I thought I would write some of the things that I’ve heard land agents say to entice landowners to sign oil and gas documents. Part One will cover things that are not specific to a particular type of oil and gas contract, meaning that you could hear these phrases in lease, well-pad, pipeline, or other oil and gas negotiations.
“Don’t worry, we will just call most of your payment ‘damages’ so that you don’t have to pay taxes.” When I hear this phrase, it makes me want to scream. First, please don’t ever take tax advice from a land agent. Call an accountant—preferably a seasoned accountant who …

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Ohio Pipeline Map and Proposed ET Rover and Leach XPress Routes

Ohio has so many pipelines that if I tried to put them all on one map, you wouldn’t be able to see much. What I’ve done here is shown what I consider to be the major, state-wide pipelines. All of these lines are interstate (crossing into at least PA, WV, IN or KY). They carry different products. They are different sizes. They have different destinations. What unifies them is their scale- each of these pipelines was a massive undertaking and involved a large number of Ohio landowners.
This map also shows two newly proposed pipelines: ET Rover and Leach XPress. These projects are just getting off the ground now (September of 2014). If you are contacted by ET Rover or Columbia …

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Why am I Still Receiving Royalty Checks?

I sold my property but did not reserve the mineral rights. Why am I still receiving royalty checks?
If you did not reserve mineral rights when you sold your property, you are almost certainly not entitled to royalty checks anymore. The reason the oil and gas company keeps sending them is simple: they don’t know that the property has been sold. Somebody has to tell them. Just because they keep sending checks does not mean that you are entitled to them.
Typically the new owner takes this responsibility upon themselves because they want to start receiving royalty checks. Sometimes, however, they forget. As the former owner, you want to get this cleaned up so that the company doesn’t continue to report this …

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Getting an Oil and Gas Company to Change Who They Pay

I bought property with an existing lease on it. What do I do? How do I get an oil and gas company to update their records and add me as the current owner?
Most oil and gas leases (even really old ones) contain some variation of this phrase: “No change of ownership shall be binding on the Lessee until it is duly notified.” This is legalese for: the oil and gas company will keep paying the old owner until the new owner speaks up and shows ownership.
When you think about it, this makes sense: oil and gas companies cannot be responsible for watching every courthouse in the state to see when a property changes hands. Instead they put the burden on …

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Announcing the ET Rover and Leach Xpress Pipelines

Statistics suggest that 75% of landowners will sign the pipeline agreements and negotiate a settlement without getting an attorney involved. The pipeline companies hope that you make that mistake. Be smarter than the 75%– learn about how you can protect your bottom line and your property by joining a landowner group.

Johnson & Johnson has recently teamed up with attorneys Steve Davis and Craig Vandervoort, also known as the Ohio Pipeline Attorneys. Steve, Craig and Molly are currently forming pipeline groups for both the ET Rover and Leach Xpress pipelines. We use our own tried-and-true method of individual representation within a group setting. We believe this gives our clients the best of both worlds.

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