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Surface Owners’ News – 2023 Annual Print Edition
Newsletter Julie Archer November 30, 2023
In this issue: Surface Owners Can Sue Drillers to Plug Non-Producing Wells; Advocacy on Federal Regulations including the Third Payout of Federal Methane Reduction Funds, EPA's Methane Rule, and Federal Leasing; 2023 Legislative Update; Kanawha State Forest Gas Well Tour with WV Legislators and Staff; Farmland Preservation Now An Option for Surface-Only Owners; Citizen Air Monitoring Project; 2024 Legislative Priorities More
Issues: Abandoned wellsDEPEPAHorizontal wellsLand useOrphaned wells
Farmland preservation is now OK for surface only owners.
Advice WVSORO November 15, 2023
Many surface owners have owned their farmland for generations and want it to remain farmland for future generations.  Another scenario is that sometimes landowners who more recently acquired their surface farmland want to see their land saved from development as suburbs or from industrial development.  More
What is a “Division Order”? 
Leasing / Amendment Advice WVSORO November 15, 2023
Do I have to sign it to get my royalties after the well is drilled? More
Issues: Minerals-Royalties
WVSORO comments to Bureau of Land Management on new federal lands oil and gas leasing bonding rule that will guarantee future orphaned wells.
Blog WVSORO October 31, 2023
WVSORO can find no examples of where bonding paid the full cost of plugging when a well owner goes out of business.  Instead the driller should stat setting aside money when the well first goes not line (when there is money).  And blanket/statewide bonding is sure to fail. More
A judge rules surface owners with unplugged, inactive wells on them can sue the driller to make them plug the well or sue for money to plug the well
Leasing / Amendment Advice WVSORO April 22, 2023
Diversified and EQT say that surface owners can't sue about unplugged wells because the drillers have entered into well plugging consent orders with the DEP. Because the consent order of Diversified would only require the plugging of wells in 400 years and for other reasons the judge ruled that surface owners can sue. More
Issues: Oil and Gas
WVSORO comments on newest proposed EPA methane rule.
Blog WVSORO February 20, 2023
EPA's proposed rule only requires inspections of well sites by "AVO" -- audio, visual, and olfactory means.  We are not making this up!  Methane has no smell, and can't be seen, and only big leaks make sounds!   Handheld methane detectors start at $31 to $100 dollars and should be used! More
Issues: EPAMethaneOil and Gas
Surface Owners say DEP needs at least 45, not just 23, oil and gas inspectors.
Updates and Alerts WVSORO February 7, 2023
Senate Bill 448 and House Bill 3110 have passed out of the Energy Committees in their respective houses and are now in their Finance Committees.  The DEP and the industry and the Governor and maybe some Legislator agreed to fund a total of 23 inspectors in this bill.  No one talked to us surface owners whether we agreed to that number -- and we are where the wells are leaking and stinking! More
Issues: DEPOil and GasPollution
WVSORO Points Out that Much More Funding Is Needed for Many More Inspectors
Blog WVSORO February 7, 2023
See the latest under Newslinks for where we are February 4, 2023.  Right now the Legislation will only give us half the inspectors per wells that Pennsylvania and Ohio have. Contact your legislators and ask for more -- at least 45 -- at this web site. More
Issues: DEPOil and Gas
WVSORO comments to EPA about how Inflation Reduction Act money should be used.
Abandoned Well Advice WVSORO January 17, 2023
Here is an op-ed written by WVSORO co-founder that appeared in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.  The op-ed mimics comments that were made to EPA about how the money should be used to find and reduce methane leaks on surface owners' land and not subsidize drillers who have wells they should already be plugging. More
Issues: Abandoned wellsOrphaned wells
Surface Owners’ News – 2022 Annual Print Edition
Newsletter Julie Archer November 19, 2022
In this issue: Some Orphaned Wells Are Starting to Get Plugged, But We Need Orphened Well Prevention Legislation; Plugging On You; Why the EPA Should Use Inflation Reduction Act Money to Find Fugitive Methane; 2022 Forced Pooling/Unitization Bill Protects Surface Owners; What to Do If You're Threatened with Forced Pooling/Unitization/Co-Tenancy; 2023 Legislative Priorities More
Issues: Abandoned wellsEPAOrphaned wellsPooling
Reducing Noise in Gas Drilling and Production
Noise Advice WVSORO November 4, 2022
Sound is a form of energy. Think of throwing a rock in to a pool of water; it will make waves that move away from the rock. As the waves get farther from the rock, they get weaker More
If you find out there is a proposal to plug an oil or gas well on your land, what should you do?
Abandoned Well AdviceAdvice WVSORO July 19, 2022
A big increase in well plugging is starting to happen. To know how you should react go to our web page, and do so right away! More
Issues: Abandoned wells
Update on forced pooling/unitization; and plugging; and inspectors
Updates and Alerts WVSORO June 14, 2022
The most significant oil and gas/surface owner/mineral owner legislation to come out of the Legislature earlier this year was the new forced pooling/unitization statute.  (Technically it is the "unitization" part that affects us, and pooling is about fights between drillers, so we will compromise with popular terminology and use the slashed term "pooling/unitization".) More
Issues: Pooling
Have  you been threatened with forced pooling/unitization?  Have your received papers giving you notice of a forced pooling/unitization hearing? 
Leasing / Amendment Advice WVSORO June 7, 2022
This is WVSORO's advice to mineral owners (and assurance to surface owners) after passage of forced pooling/unitization legislation effective June, 2022. More
Issues: Pooling
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
So plugging is not capping.  Old oil and gas wells need plugged.  This needs done properly or serious problems can occur.  And it needs State and surface owner and coal owner and mineral owner oversight to be sure that pluggers avoid the temptation to save money and get to the next job.  It needs oversight while it is happening so that they do not save money by cutting corners that cannot be seen once the job is finished. More
Bad plug job results.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
So again, numerous problems can arise from improper plugging.  This is an illustration of some of them.  The methane can leak up into coal formations, into gas and other porous or permeable formations between the producing formation and the coal. More
Bad plug job.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
Again, our purpose #3 for this slide show, is to illustrate the concern is that if a plugging company is not well overseen, it may take shortcuts to save money.  This illustration shows that the tubing was pulled, but the production casing was not pulled -- only cut off a few tens of feet below ground.  More
API number on monument to plugged well.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
The API number required to be on the monument was done with welding in this case.  Note the grey cement from teh surface cement job at the bottom of the monument. More
Surface reclaimed and mistakes hidden.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
After the well is plugged and the monument set, the area disturbed is to be "reclaimed"  to avoid soil erosion and sedimentation.  (Surface owners, particularly farmers, may want to insist on certain seed types.) More
Isolating other gas bearing formations.
Slide WVSORO May 5, 2022
This is a different illustration from another source of a well before and after plugging.  It does not show a coal seam (like there almost always is in West Virginia) but it does show multiple oil and gas formations that are likely here in West Virginia.  More
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