As many as 250 farmers and rural property owners are expected to gather in Lee County tonight for a presentation on underground natural gas deposits.
State officials are responding to interest from property owners who want information about their rights and legal risks before they sign land-lease agreements with mining companies.
"There's a huge interest," said Stephanie Romelczyk, an extension agent for the N.C. Cooperativfe Extension serivce. "People have had some pressure to sign and they want to know how to protect themselves in a leasing situation."
Lee County is at the center of a vast natural gas deposit that sits less than a mile underground. The formations in this state could cover nearly 1,400 square miles and could contain enough natural gas to supply the state for several decades, state geologists believe.
The extension service of N.C. State University and A&T State University are organizing the meeting with state geologists and other featured speakers. Romelczyk said 250 people have registered already and about 40 have been put on a waiting list.
Among the issues to be covered:
•How the terms in the lease will affect your land.
•If you own mineral rights to yoru land.
•How drilling could affect your land use taxation status.
•You can negotiate a lease that is a win-win situation for all parties involved.
The meeting is scheduled tonight at 6 p.m. in Sanford at the McSwain Extension Education and Agriculture Center. Those interested are asked to call 775-5624 to be put on a waiting list.