William & Mary Law Review


First, this Note will establish why conservation easements and oil and gas leases are likely to conflict. Second, this Note will present two scenarios under which conservation easements and oil and gas leases might conflict and then demonstrate how current law sorts out the conflicting rights. Third, it will advance several arguments for how conservation easements should be adapted, identifying specific provisions that should be altered in light of the Internal Revenue Code and Ohio’s current legal structure. By doing so, this Note will elucidate how the oil and gas boom in Ohio offers conservation organizations a unique opportunity to preserve land, while benefiting from the boom themselves. This Note maintains that conservation easements and oil and gas development can both exist and thrive, but only if conservation organizations relax their unitization prohibitions, identify and work around potential conflicts, and draft their conservation easements to protect against such conflicts.