To the editor:
In the Sept. 30 edition of the Herald-Star, it was reported: "Hess will vigorously challenge a federal court ruling which could allow 300-plus property owners in Jefferson, Harrison and Belmont to renegotiate their oil and gas leases." ("Hess plans challenge of ruling on leases.") Wow - a company that says it wants to be a part of and committed to community to say it is going to vigorously fight and challenge all of these local families and hard-working people who have had these farms and land for generations.
Now, because of extremely lopsided and crafted leases, Hess wants to hold these people to them. Hess knows how these leases read and that's the reason they want to fight to keep them valid. Some people were paid $5 an acre and in today's market it's $5,000 to $8,000 an acre.
John Hess, the chief executive officer and owner of Hess, has an estimated personal wealth of $6 billion, and the Hess Corp. is worth an estimated $30 billion. They stand to benefit greatly from the resources in our own back yards, and are trying to pay the landowners a fraction of that. What a shame.
There are 300-plus lease holders and that will essentially have an effect on thousands of members of our community, who could benefit greatly for generations to come.
What a great public relations move by Hess - fight thousands of local families right out of the gate. Not work with them, but fight them. How sad is that.
We lease holders don't have the teams of lawyers of the lobbyists of this oil giant, but what we do have is strength in numbers - that, and the combined need to stand up to Hess and the Hess Corp, and say work with us, don't take advantage of us.
The upfront cost of renegotiating these leases may be more of a cost, but the residual of this for the thousands it will directly effect will be tremendous for years and generations to come.
Hess now intends to send groups of lawyers to try to overturn a federal court ruling by Judge Algenon L. Marbley, who ruled that the terms of these leases were unfair to the lease holders. Again, it is not working with us, but fighting against us. Hess stated that it was surprised by the court's decision.
Don't be surprised when all of the 300-plus lease holders and their families and friends stand together to let the Hess Corp. know we will fight vigorously to hold on to what we know in our hearts is ours - not some out-of-state New York billionaire's.
God bless, take care of each other and please don't litter.