When mineral rights exist on a property there may be easements associated with those rights. For example, a mineral rights transfer often carries an easement with it to allow the grantee of those rights access to the property. It may allow the grantee to transgress across the property, to install a well or some sort of structure on the property, and to extract minerals from subsurface on the property. This may affect what the land owner can do to develop the property and it may affect any existing plants and agriculture on the land.
However, laws regarding mineral rights vary state to state. North Dakota, for example, allows the owner of surface rights to receive some compensation for damages done to their property by mineral rights owners, but the compensation does not cover lost farmland and disruption of normal farming and ranching practices. Jonathan Knutson explains, in his article North Dakota ranchers say mineral rights get too much emphasis, how Kim Shade, a rancher in North Dakota, estimates a $25,000 loss from oil vehicles killing cattle on his land and an additional loss of 15 calves who died from a chemical spill by an oil company, all of which are not covered by insurance. Other negative effects include harm done to crops from dust raised on unpaved roads by oil industry trucks and poorly sited oil wells which create sections of land that are too small to farm with modern equipment.
In Texas, mineral rights supersede property rights; therefore, oil companies who own the mineral rights to a property can come onto privately-owned property and start operations. When this occurs land owners are paid a leasing fee from the mineral rights owner. Yet, property owners in Texas are also having issues with mineral rights owners starting drilling operations on their property. Joshua Brown discusses the frustrations of an upset Texas property owner in his article Home (and oil) on the Range. Aside from the unpleasant aesthetics, some of the problems faced by the property owner include a huge tree dying from nearby oil drilling, a smelly retention pool filled with water and oil runoff, and fumes created by flare stacks that accompany each well.
If you own a property, it is advised to review the mineral rights deed associated with the property. Don’t just look at who the owners are of those rights but get a thorough mineral rights title search. This will help you understand the easements associated with it and what rights have been given up in addition to the access of minerals from subsurface on the property.