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United school board OKs additional gas lease

March 1, 2012
By KEVIN HOWELL , Salem News

HANOVERTON- The United Local school board Wednesday night approved a mineral rights lease agreement with Chesapeake Exploration for 20 additional acres missed in a prior agreement approved last spring.

Passing 4 to 1, with board President John Zehentbauer casting the dissenting vote, the contract includes an up front bonus of $5,800 per acre and 20 percent royalty interest on the production. The company has five years to begin production, but holds an option to renew the contract for another five years. Additionally the district will only be relinquishing the rights to the minerals 100 feet above and 100 feet below the production area.

The district will receive $116,000 within 60 business days for the rights to the 20 acres west of the K-12 campus, which had been missed in a prior agreement with DPS Penn because it was filed under a different name than the district's main parcel.

The board had held off approving the agreement since it was first suggested in December in order to work through a variety of issues that schools Superintendent RuthAnn Rinto indicated had been solved.

"I'm happy with [Chesapeake]; we were basically given everything we asked for," she said prior to the vote.

The board last May had approved a non-surface contract with DPS Penn to lease the mineral rights for its main 86-acre parcel for an up front bonus of $2,000 per acre and 15 percent royalty.

Kevin Howell can be reached at



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