WV SORO Legislative Update Archive

February 15, 2008

Wednesday, February 20 ~ Informational Meeting, Possible Public Hearing on Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights

As we mentioned in our action alert earlier this week the Surface Owners' Bill of Rights was not on the agenda when the House Industry & Labor/ Economic Development & Small Business Committee met on Wednesday.  Although the committee chairman, Del. Ken Tucker (D-Marshall), supports the bill he didn't want to take it up because he believes there are not enough votes for it to pass. The oil & gas industry have signed on several extra lobbyists and they are spreading misinformation to delegates about what is in the bill and the impact it will have on the industry.

Next week we will have and opportunity to clear up the industry’s misinformation and properly inform legislators of the bill's intent – to protect surface owners from industry abuses; give them some say in the location of well sites, access, roads and pipelines; and help ensure the receive fair compensation for their losses and inconveniences. Chairman Tucker and Senator Jon Blair Hunter (D-Monongalia), who chairs the Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining Committee, have decided to hold a joint informational meeting of their committees on Wednesday, February 20 from 4pm to 6pm in the House Chamber

At this time, it is unclear whether a portion of the meeting will be devoted to hearing public comments.  We’ll send out another update once we have confirmation. Information will also be posted at our website. Public hearing or not, we still encourage your attendance as a strong turnout will show there is interest in the bill and support for giving surface owners more rights.  In the meantime, calls to your legislators are helpful and needed, particularly if they serve on one of the committees considering the bill.  A list of committee members and their contact information can be found in last week's update


West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization
1500 Dixie Street, Charleston, West Virginia 25311