Action Alert: Ask Senators to Vote YES for a Third Well Plugging Money Bill on Thursday!

West Virginia
Surface Owners’ Rights Organization
Mar 3, 2020 View this Alert Online


PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL THE SENATORS  TODAY AND TELL THEM SB 4088 IS A SURFACE OWNERS’ BILL; AND TELL THEM TO VOTE FOR THE BILL.  Please do it right now. The vote is on Thursday. Contact info in the link! 

Lots of good news, but we need  your help on one more push on one more bill.  

First the good news:

HB 4091 has been signed by the Governor!  It allows drillers to pay extra for expedited permits, and then half the money goes to plug orphaned wells.  It may not be a lot of money in the current drilling climate, but it will help some!

SB 120 passed the Senate, and it is out of committee in the House, and should pass the House without amendment on Thursday, March 5, and then be on to the Governor.  It says that if the State forfeits an driller’s bond for failure to plug a well on a surface owner, then the bond money will first be used to plug that particular well.  That does not always happen now. We will tell you more about that after the session.

HB 4090 has passed the House and then passed the Senate with a small amendment.  Your responses from our last alert helped get it out of a Senate Committee! We are assured the House will concur in the amendment!  Then it is on to the Governor! It lowers the existing 5% severance tax on production from most conventional wells to 2.5% and then puts that remaining 2.5% into the fund to plug orphaned wells.  It could plug 40 or 50 a year!  

Here is one on which we need your help:

HB 4088 will, after seven years, if missing or unknown mineral owners in partition and missing owners leasing cases cannot be found, take the royalty money that is due to them and put it in the fund to plug orphaned wells.  After that, title to the minerals and all future royalty money goes to the surface owner! . It could plug 200 wells in the first year. In a poll, some of you thought ½ of the first seven years should still go to the surface owners — or all the money if there was a well pad on the surface owner.  We asked the Legislature to do that, but they insisted that all the first seven years royalty money should go to plug orphaned wells because of the huge need. The bill passed the House that way, and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. It will be on the passage stage of the floor of the Senate on Thursday. 

We know there are some scoundrels who are going around and buying this surface land from unsuspecting surface owners who do not know they may be coming into owning the underlying minerals and this money.  We suspect that these folks helped kill this bill the last night of the session last year.  

 So we need your help!  

AGAIN, PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL THE SENATORS  RIGHT NOW AND TELL THEM SB 4088 IS A SURFACE OWNERS’ BILL; AND TELL THEM TO VOTE FOR THE BILL.  Please do it right now. The vote is on Thursday. Contact info in the link! 

Thank you!

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