Many New York shale gas leases expire as fracking moratorium remains

New York's five-year moratorium on shale gas development promised to be a blessing for many landowners eager to end leases they signed before anyone outside of the oil and gas industry had heard of fracking.

But getting out of a lease can be tricky.

Many have clauses giving the drilling company the right to extend the leases for another five years. Gas companies have tried to extend thousands of leases by claiming an unforeseen barrier - the moratorium - has prevented them from drilling.

Thousands of leases have reached the end of their five-year term since the moratorium began in 2008. Some people want better terms while others have become opponents of the drilling technique.