AVELLA – An Avella couple is taking Range Resources to court over claims the natural gas drilling company did not properly compensate them for a water impoundment constructed on their farm.
The complaint, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, alleges Range has not made payments to the property owners, John M. Dryer and JoAnn Dryer, since September 2010. It also states Range “has neither a right nor permission to occupy and use Dryer Farms’ land.”
According to a damage release agreement attached to the complaint, Range agreed in October 2009 to pay the property owners $15,000 upon completion of construction. Range also agreed to pay $10,000 for the second year of operation and $10,000 for each year thereafter until the impoundment is restored and reclaimed.
The Dryers, who sold their property in 2011 to a family limited partnership called Dryer Farms, LP, allege Range made only an initial payment of $15,000 in 2010 and a payment of $10,000 that same year.
The impoundment is located on 225 acres of land near the 600 block of Washington Pike in Avella. It is adjacent to the Goettel Unit 4-13H well, according to the damage release agreement.
The Dryers’ attorney, David A. Borkovic, said the impoundment is still being used.
“I believe that both my client and Range Resources will agree on that point,” Borkovic said in an email.
The couple is seeking an order that would require Range to restore the impoundment and compensate Dryer Farms, but did not specify an amount.
Range spokesman Matt Pitzarella said the company just received notice of the complaint and is investigating facts pertaining to that impoundment.