Thousands of rural landowners in New York State have joined together to form grassroots organizations aimed at collectively bargaining with natural gas companies. The leverage afforded by acting collectively allows these landowner coalitions to potentially influence the economic, environmental, and community impacts of gas development across hundreds of thousands of acres. In-depth interviews with coalition leaders conducted for this article reveal the scope, motivations, and benefits of membership in these groups. Our work examines these elements using multiple frameworks for understanding collective natural resource management. The coalitions are primarily concerned with the advancement of private member benefits, while public benefits of the collective action are poised to accrue indirectly. Group leaders are also contemplating how to use their leverage to secure direct benefits for the wider community – actions that may give communities a modicum of local control over gas development.

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