Every time I try to get out

For a time, one of the main things this blog did was gently, and sometimes not that gently, point out that Randy Cohen is not good at giving people advice. And there's no time like the present to get back in the habit:
Natural-gas companies in our area can drill in one spot and extract gas more than a mile away by using “horizontal” drilling. These companies offered to lease homeowners’ mineral rights — about $4,000 for my partner and me. For environmental reasons, we strongly oppose this drilling, but most of our neighbors are enthusiastic about the profits, so drilling will likely be done under our house whether or not we agree to the lease. What should we do? JESSICA MAY, FORT WORTH
Me: First, make serious efforts to confirm that you're correct about whether or not selling your mineral rights in particular will change the total amount of natural gas extracted from your area. Talk to your neighbors to ensure that you're correct about their intentions, local or national environmental groups about their understanding of the situation and your options, and possibly a geologist.

If the sale would make a difference, even marginally, don't do it, for categorical imperative (first formulation) reasons.

If it turns out you're correct that your sale doesn't matter, ask for more money. Encourage your neighbors to ask for more money. If you get more money, publicize that fact. Give a substantial portion of any money you receive to a reputable charity which either purchases land to preserve it from drilling, takes action to reduce greenhouse gas levels, or lobbies to make it more difficult for natural gas companies to purchase mineral rights.

Cohen's answer,
which I encourage you to look at for yourself, is wrong in a variety of ways. His claim that “[b]ut the most potent argument for your declining to sign what you regard as a devil’s bargain is this: It violates your own principles” is especially misguided. It's not the case that all principled reasons for opposing drilling entail, or even suggest, the wrongfulness of taking money from a company which drills.

In the past I've worried that I'm being unfair to The Ethicist by using a lot more words in answering than he does, since he's constrained by his column word count. So let me note that he used 241 words, and I used 154 (and a supplementary link which improves, but isn't required for, my argument).