February 22, 2008
Surface Owners’ Bill Gets Hearing
The Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights (HB 4286 & SB 482) finally got a hearing before the House Industry & Labor and Senate Industry & Mining committees this past Wednesday. Thanks to everyone who was able to attend – we appreciate your coming and show your support. Thanks to you, we actually outnumbered the nearly 30 industry lobbyists, lawyers and supporters who attended the meeting. Unfortunately, the bill is not going to pass this session, even though we were able to debunk some of the false information that has been spread about the bill.
On the bright side, your calls and letters to legislators have made a difference. Legislators are more aware of the problems and abuses surface owners experience, and both committee chairs want the bill to be taken up for study during the interim sessions this coming spring, summer and fall. If you get the chance please thank Senator Jon Blair Hunter (D-Monongalia) and Delegate Ken Tucker (D-Marshall) for their help and interest in surface owners’ rights. It appears that we will be granted an actual public hearing when the bill is taken up in the interims. We will definitely keep everyone informed regarding these events.
We always knew this was an uphill battle, and always expected the bill to take more than one year to pass. Just because nothing is going to pass this session, doesn’t mean we can, or will, give up. Keep contacting your Senators and Delegates. Let’s make sure they know how much this issue means to us.
More Town Hall Meetings Being Planned
We would like to thank Sharon Marshok for taking the initiative and helping us organize a meeting in Doddridge County. The meeting will be held at the Doddridge County Park on March 15th at 6pm.
We also plan to reschedule our regional meeting for Boone, Logan & Lincoln counties and are working with Senator Clark Barnes (R-Randolph) to plan a meeting in his district.
If you want to help plan a meeting in your county or area, see if you can arrange a place for us to meet then give us a call 346-5891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or suggestions for future meetings, or comments on previous meetings, please let us know.