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Mineral rights below ground might not be those of property owners

When a person purchases a new home, they might assume that they own all of the property, including the earth beneath it, as far down as they could dig. However, a recent report found that tens of thousands of homeowners across the country might not own the mineral rights to the earth underneath their homes.

If they didn't closely review the contract when they purchased their homes, they might have left those rights to the land developer. This can cause many people to think about the environmental impact they could feel if a company was to drill for minerals underneath their home.

When developing property, companies often encounter environmental issues. However, mineral rights might seem like a rare problem, and it could be unknown if any valuable minerals even exist under a property.

It is important that companies understand their rights in California when considering property development, and they should be in compliance with all laws. If a property owner or a developer feels that their rights have been violated, or that environmental laws are not being followed, they might want to speak with an experienced environmental law attorney. An attorney can review each individual case and treat the case with sensitivity.

If a company is found in violation of an environmental law, an attorney can help come to an agreement on how to resolve the situation. If environmental litigation is necessary, an attorney can help ensure all court procedures are handled properly and work to ensure a fair trial.

Source: Reuters, "Special Report - U.S. builders hoard mineral rights under new homes," Michelle Conlin and Brian Grow, Oct. 9, 2013

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