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WVSORO

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Improved “Co-Tenancy” Bill Clears House Judiciary Committee
Updates and Alerts WVSORO February 10, 2018
After yesterday's public hearing on the "co-tenancy" bill (HB 4268), the House Judiciary Committee took up and passed an improved version of the bill that, most importantly, addresses the problems we raised regarding surface use and the need to require surface owner's consent. If version of HB 4268 that came out of the House Judiciary Committee passes, if the driller uses the statute to get the right to drill into the mineral tract beneath a surface owners' land or into any neighboring mineral tract, the driller will have to get the agreement of the surface owner to locate the well pad on their surface. Requiring the surface owners consent is very important, and a significant improvement that makes it worth supporting the bill. Why? Read more here. More
Issues: Horizontal wellsLand re-unionLeasingMinerals-RoyaltiesOrphaned wellsPooling
Public Hearing on “Co-Tenancy” Friday, Feb. 9 at 8:30AM
Updates and Alerts WVSORO February 6, 2018
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on the "co-tenancy" bill (HB 4268) Friday, February 9 at 8:30AM in the House Chamber. Read this post for more details and talking points about the bill. More
Issues: Horizontal wellsMinerals-RoyaltiesPooling
“Co-Tenancy” Bill Advances Without Changes, Public Hearing Possible Wednesday
Updates and Alerts WVSORO February 4, 2018
Last week the House Energy Committee passed the "co-tenancy" bill (HB 4268) without any changes. HB 4268 is problematic in a number of ways which we've outlined in detail here, and we remain opposed to the bill unless these issues are addressed. The bill is now before the House Judiciary Committee. A public hearing has been requested and will possibly be held this Wednesday, February 7 although there has been no official announcement yet. In the meantime, please contact House Judiciary Committee members and voice your concerns about HB 4268.  More
Issues: Eminent domainFence-line monitoringPipelinesPollutionPooling
“Co-Tenancy” Bill Being Considered by House Energy Committee
Updates and Alerts WVSORO January 27, 2018
A "co-tenancy" bill (HB 4268) is now being considered by the House Energy Committee. HB 4268 is problematic in a number of ways which we've outlined here. Please contact members of the House Energy Committee and voice your concerns about HB 4268. Urge them to prioritize other legislation before them that will help those most affect by drilling and natural gas infrastructure. More
Issues: Eminent domainFence-line monitoringHorizontal wellsPipelinesPooling
WV-SORO 2018 Legislative Priorities
Blog WVSORO January 5, 2018
Legislation to have the property rights of surface owners recognized, to increase their chances of owning some of the minerals under them, and to deal with orphaned wells and other environmental problems, continue to be WV-SORO's legislative priorities for 2018.  We will also be active opposing legislation the industry introduces (out of its sense of entitlement) which will harm the interests of surface owners (including some fortunate few of whom are also small mineral interest owners). More
Issues: Abandoned wellsEminent domainFence-line monitoringHorizontal wellsLand re-unionOrphaned wellsPipelines
Surface Owners’ News – Winter 2017
Document WVSORO February 10, 2017
As we have in years past, our WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WV SORO) will again be pushing for legislation to have the property rights of surface owners recognized and respected, to increase their chances of owning some of the minerals under them, and to deal with orphaned wells and other environmental problems. More
Issues: Abandoned wellsDrillilng wasteLand re-unionLegislationNuisance suitsPollution
Partition Decision by Circuit Court Judge Favors Mineral Owner
Partition Suit Advice WVSORO January 23, 2017
A new decision in E[Q]T Bluegrass vs. Blaney, Johnson and others has been issued by a Ritchie (and Doddridge and Pleasants) County Circuit Court Judge Sweeney. It favors a mineral owner over a driller. More
Issues: Partition suitsPooling
I have been included in (or threatened with) a partition suit. What should I do?
Partition Suit Advice WVSORO January 23, 2017
Partition suits are becoming more common because horizontal well drillers are using them. If a forced pooling bill had passed the Legislature, they would be doing that instead. More
Issues: Partition suits
Eminent Domain Update
Pipeline Advice WVSORO December 16, 2016
In November 2016, The West Virginia Supreme Court has upheld the Monroe County Circuit Court judge saying Mountain Valley transmission pipeline conveying gas only out of State is not for a "public purpose" to West Virginians and so cannot use eminent domain (and cannot force access for surveying) More
Issues: Eminent domainPipelines
West Virginia Supreme Court cites WVSORO “amicus brief” regarding ownership of coalbed methane
Blog WVSORO December 16, 2016
The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in the Moss case in 2003 that leases and deeds that granted or reserved rights to “oil and gas” or “natural gas” did not automatically give or reserve rights to coalbed methane More
Issues: Coal bed methane
Poulos15-0907Concurring Opinion by Justice Ketchum
Document WVSORO December 16, 2016
Justice Ketchum filed a “Concurring Opinion” but said he would prefer to overrule Moss to make title opinions more certain. More
Issues: Coal bed methane
Poulos 15-0907 Court Opinion
Document WVSORO December 16, 2016
The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in the Moss case in 2003 that leases and deeds that granted or reserved rights to “oil and gas” or “natural gas” did automatically not give or reserve rights to coalbed methane“ More
Issues: Coal bed methane
WVSORO 2017 Legislative Proposals
Blog WVSORO December 11, 2016
WVSORO will again be pushing for legislation to have the property rights of surface owners recognized, to increase their chances of owning some of the minerals under them, and to deal with orphaned wells and other environmental problems, etc. More
Issues: Fence-line monitoringHorizontal wellsLand re-unionLegislationOrphaned wellsTax sales
The West Virginia Legislature needs to implement the results of the 2011 Horizontal Well Act studies and require “fence-line monitoring”!
Document WVSORO December 9, 2016
When the Legislature passed the Horizontal Well Act in a special session in December 2011, about the only protection in the bill for surface owners was a requirement that the center of a well pad had to be 625 feet from a home. More
Issues: Fence-line monitoringHorizontal wellsLegislation
The West Virginia Land Reunion Song
Blog WVSORO December 9, 2016
In the early 1980's a surge of conventional well drilling occurred in West Virginia in reaction to first the Arab Oil Embargo and then the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The surge in drilling resulted in gross abuses of surface owners. More
Issues: Land re-unionLegislationNuisance suits
Draft bill requiring money from forfeited bonds to fix the problem that lead to the forfeiture
Document WVSORO December 8, 2016
If a drillers' bond is forfeited by the State, the money should be used first to fix the problem on landowner's land that caused the bond to be forfeited. More
Issues: LegislationReclamation fund
Use the Funds from Oil and Gas Operator Bond Forfeitures First to Take Care of the Problem That Caused The Forfeiture
Document WVSORO December 7, 2016
There is an "Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund" that in theory is supposed to be used to plug the thousands and thousands of oil and gas wells that have been orphaned over the last century by oil and gas drillers who go out of business without plugging them. In reality, from 2010 to 2014 there was only enough money in the fund to plug just 6 orphaned wells! More
Issues: LegislationOrphaned wellsReclamation fund
Let’s give surface owners the option to purchase any interest in the minerals under their land that is sold at a tax sale!
Document WVSORO December 3, 2016
Nearly everyone thinks that separation of ownership of the surface from ownership of the minerals was a bad idea. Surface owners get no royalty (or lease signing bonus if the minerals are not leased yet) yet have the burden of the well site being placed on them. They have no incentive to cooperate with the drilling of gas wells even though the burden of the well site and access road falls on them. More
Issues: Land re-unionLegislationTax sales
Use the funds from partition suits to plug orphaned oil and gas wells
Document WVSORO December 2, 2016
The purpose of this bill is to help solve the problem of orphaned, unplugged oil and gas wells. These often leaky wells exist because oil and gas well drillers that have gone out of business, and because the drillers' bonding requirement is not high enough for there to be enough money to plug the wells they left behind. More
Issues: LegislationOrphaned wells
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