Legislative Wrap-Up, Send Us Your Questions on Co-Tenancy
With a week to go in the 2018 legislative session, the “co-tenancy” bill (HB 4268), passed the Senate unchanged (except for a title amendment which is a technical change that doesn’t affect the substance of the bill), although not without considerable debate, and on March 9, Governor Justice signed the bill into law.
HB 4268 contains important protections for surface owners, requiring their consent for any surface disturbance whenever the co-tenancy law is used to develop the mineral tract beneath a surface owners’ land or into any neighboring mineral tract, regardless of whether the surface owner owns an interest in the mineral tract being developed. This is significant. The bill also contained protections for the non-consenting, and missing and unknown mineral owners that were not included in the introduced bill. You can read more about these provisions here and here.
Now that the legislative session is over, we are starting to put together more information to help surface and mineral owners understand the law, which goes into effect June 3, and you can help us by sending us your questions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will use your responses to help us develop answers to a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about co-tenancy. Once the FAQ is ready we’ll make it available on our website.
In the meantime, we’ll do our best to respond to your emails individually, and you can always give us a call. Additionally, our co-founder and attorney, Dave McMahon will lead a session on Co-Tenancy, Forced Pooling, Right To Trespass, and Protecting Your Land on Saturday, April 7 at the Community Organizing Summit (see details below).
Other bills of interest passed by the legislature include:
SB 360, which would change the way royalties are calculated for flat-rate leases by reversing a decision by the state Supreme Court that says oil and gas companies can take deductions for production expenses from the royalty payments paid under these leases. Read more here. The bill was signed by the Governor and goes into effect May 31.
HB 4270 provides for the timely payment of royalties (within 120 days of the date of the sale of the oil, gas, or natural gas liquids produced) from horizontal wells; requires that specific information related to production and deductions from payments be provided to royalty owners along with their royalty payments; and provides penalties for late payments (an interest penalty at the prime rate plus two percent). The bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
Community Organizing Summit April 6-8 at Jackson’s Mill
WV-SORO and our allies in the Appalachian Gas Working Group (AGWG) invite you to join us at the Community Organizing Summit from April 6-8 at Jackson’s Mill 4-H Camp, near Weston, WV.
The Community Organizing Summit is open to members of grassroots groups and individuals, especially those who want to develop skills and tools to protect their communities from oil and gas extraction and related infrastructure development. The AGWG Community Organizing Summit will feature two tracks: one on community organizing, and one specific to environmental issues.
What: Community Organizing Summit, hosted by the Appalachian Gas Working Group
Where: Jackson’s Mill, 160 WVU Jackson Mill, Weston, WV
When: Friday, April 6 – Sunday, April 8
Learn more and register here. Choose either a Friday night ticket or a Saturday night ticket, or both. The Friday ticket is $25, and includes registration, plus the use of a dorm bed that night, along with dinner Friday night, and breakfast and lunch Saturday. Saturday night tickets are $25 and include registration, plus the use of a dorm bed for that night, dinner Saturday night, and breakfast Sunday morning. To attend the full event, the cost is only $50 for two overnight stays, and five meals.
You can view the full schedule and session descriptions here.
Registration is required by March 30.