WV SORO Update Archive

August 14, 2008

Reminder:  Meeting Tonight (August 14) in Buckhannon on Surface Owners' Rights
6:30PM at Buckhannon-Upshur High School Auditorium
50 B-U Drive, Buckhannon, WV

The meeting on will focus on surface owners' rights and legislative options for expanding surface owner protections in West Virginia. Area landowners are encouraged to attend to learn more about their rights, to share their concerns and provide input on what they think needs to be done to protect property owners from industry abuses.  David McMahon, a  public interest lawyer and founder of WV SORO, and Alvin Engelke, an experienced mineral owner/well operator, will make presentations, with a question and answer period to follow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 ~ "County Captain" Conference Call
Want to help organize WV SORO efforts in your area? For more information on participating contact Julie or Norm at (304) 346-5891.

Thursday, August 21, 2008 ~ Educational Meeting on Oil & Gas Leasing in Preston County
6:30PM at the Kingwood Civic Center
311 Tunnelton Street, Kingwood, WV

This meeting is being held in conjunction with  Preston County Assessor Terri Funk, Preston County Commission, Chamber of Commerce and EDA, and state & local Farm Bureau. The meeting will focus on oil & gas leasing for those who are considering leasing their minerals and want to know about the limited protections they will have if they do not get them in the lease. The leasing presentations will provide mineral owners with information on bad provisions in leases and discuss additional surface owner protections that landowners can insist on before signing a lease. Featured speakers are Dave McMahon and Alvin Engelke. A question and answer period will follow the presentations. For more information e-mail julie@wvsoro.org or contact: Terri Funk (304) 329-1220 or 290-1122 or Julie Archer (304) 346-5891

WV SORO Celebrates First Year ~ Help Us Continue to Grow

The WV Surface Owner's Rights Organization was founded just over a year ago and we are proud of our accomplishments so far.  These accomplishments include:

•    Building an organization from zero to over 500 members in 51 West Virginia counties, 24 states and 3 foreign countries.
•    Developing our website, www.wvsoro.org, which has many resources for both surface and mineral owners.
•    Distributing hundreds of copies of the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Guide to Oil & Gas to help landowners assess their situation, outlines what rights they have and gives them step-by-step suggestions on what they should do when they get a notice of an application for a permit, what to do while the oil or gas well is being drilled, what to do after drilling is completed and what to do to get compensated for damages. 
•    Holding more than dozen meetings around the state, including presentations to the WV Woodland Owners’ Association and county and regional meetings of the WV Farm Bureau and the state Grange to educate landowners about their rights and organize them to fight for the public policy changes needed to protect their farms and woodlands. Most were attended by more than 100 people, although a July 2008 meeting held in conjunction with the Farm Bureau drew more than 400 concerned landowners who have been approached by companies wanting them to lease their minerals to oil and gas drillers.
•    Drafting, obtaining sponsors for and introducing a “Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights” and study resolutions in the West Virginia Legislature.  The Legislature will study the problems facing surface owners during its monthly interim meetings between now and the beginning of the next regular session in February 2009. 
•    Filing an appeal challenging state agency rulings on well spacing for gas wells planned to the Marcellus Shale formation. If the WV SORO appeal is successful, these wells would have to be located at least 1,500, and possibly up to 3,000, feet apart.  Otherwise, unnecessary wells will be drilled and surface owners will have to contend with more well sites on their land, and more inherent soil erosion, stream sedimentation and risk to groundwater. (Press Release) (More Information)

We appreciate your support and hope you will help us continue to grow our organization and build the political capital to push for the public policy changes needed to give surface owners' rights more rights and to ensure landowners receive fair compensation for their losses and inconveniences. You can do this by telling your friends and neighbors about WV SORO, sending them the following links and encouraging them to join us.  Thank you!

WV SORO Membership Form
More on Joining WV SORO
(or e-mail info@wvsoro.org to request a membership packet)

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