Gas firms say they can renew W.Va. lease on own

WHEELING (AP) — Chesapeake Appalachia says it had the legal right to unilaterally renew a lease that a Brooke County couple is opposing in federal court.

Ramon and Lois Bowen claim they were duped into leasing their land for $50 per acre in 2007.

They’re suing Chesapeake, Pa.-based Range Resources and Texas-based Statoil USA Onshore Properties in U.S. District Court in Wheeling.

The Bowens say that five years before the profit potential of the Marcellus shale gas reserves was common knowledge, they were persuaded to lease their land for far less than market value.

But Chesapeake and Statoil want Judge John Preston Bailey to rule in their favor.

In a response filed late last week, they argue the terms clearly give them the right to renew indefinitely — and without the Bowens’ consent.

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