The Sanford native has leased away scores of acres over the decades to companies toying with plumbing the resources below Lee County. A former industrial well driller himself, Pickard said officials operating the coal mines dotting the Deep River have long suspected the area is well-stocked with natural gas reserves.
"There's no question in my mind there's gas here," Pickard said. "... It ain't no shock to me."
Companies have come and gone seeking the rights to explore Pickard's land along Carbonton Road in northwestern Lee County, talking of rich wells and profits for years to come. Read more