WV SORO Update Archive

October 20, 2008

Upcoming Events ~ Educational Meetings This Week and Next

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Educational Forum on Oil & Gas Leasing and Surface Owners’ Rights
7:00 PM ~ Core Community Center, 240 High Street, Route 7 near Morgantown, WV (Directions nelow)
House of Delegates members representing the 44th district will be hosting an educational forum for landowners who may be considering leasing their minerals and want to know more about the various provisions in leases, including lease add-ons or addendums they can insist on to provide additional protections for their land. The meeting is also an opportunity for landowners who do not own their minerals, or whose minerals are already under lease, to learn more about their rights when oil & gas companies drill on their property. Dave McMahon, a public interest lawyer and founder of the WV SORO, Alvin Engelke, an experienced mineral owner/well operator and WV Farm Bureau board member, and Dennis Xander of Denex Petroleum Corporation, an energy exploration and development company, have been invited to make brief presentations, with a question and answer period to follow. There will be a slide presentation showing what some well sites look like as they are drilled and the represented organizations will have educational materials available. 
Directions to Core Community Center: 
The Community Center is an old school. Take the the Star City exit off I-79.  Take Rt. 19 North a short distance and make a left turn at Route 7 West. Go a few miles until you see the Core Center on the left. If you pass the Dolls Run Church you have gone just a little too far. It should take about 10 minutes or a little more from the Star City bridge.

October 24-26, 2008

WV Highlands Conservancy's Fall Review ~ AFC Retreat and Conference Center near Marlinton, WV
The Saturday evening program will be an informative presentation and discussion about the new rush to drill the Marcellus Shale gas formation that lies deep beneath the surface all across West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. The size of the well sites and depth of the drilling and the hydrofracing has raised questions across the region about everything from leasing to water use and withdrawal. Presenters include Lee Avery (Petroleum Geologist and Manager, Oil and Gas Program, West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey) and Dave McMahon (WV SORO and Mountain State Justice).
Reservations required.
For more information or to make reservations contact Cindy Rank (304-924-5802, clrank@hughes.net) or Beth Little (304-653-4277, blittle@citynet.net)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Informational Meeting on Surface Owners’ Rights Hosted by the Northern Wayne County Community Association
7:00 PM ~ Old Buffalo High School Cafeteria, Buffalo Creek Road, off State Rt. 75 across from Buffalo Elementary School
Dave McMahon, a public interest lawyer and founder of WV SORO will give a presentation with a question and answer period to follow.
For more information or contact BJ Smith, N. Wayne Co. Community Assoc., (304) 453-2033 or Julie or Norm @wvsoro.org or (304) 346-5891

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Educational Meeting on Oil & Gas Leasing in Doddridge County
6:30 PM ~ Doddridge County Park, Snowbird Road, Smithburg, WV (near West Union)
Planned by local WV SORO organizers, the meeting will focus on oil & gas leasing for those who are considering leasing their minerals and 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. Most mineral owners don’t know that there are usually bad provisions in leases that can and should be crossed out and that they can insist on lease add-ons or addendums that provide additional protections for their land. Dave McMahon, a public interest lawyer and founder of WV SORO, and Alvin Engelke, an experienced mineral owner/well operator and WV Farm Bureau board member, will make presentations, with a question and answer period to follow.
For more information Sharon Marshok (304-623-1245 or smarshok@msn.com) or Nancy Powers (304-623-0482 or or Nancypsalem@aol.com)

Newsletter Correction

A WV SORO member who is a forester contacted us regarding some inaccuracies in our recent newsletter.  The following is an excerpt from their letter in response to the article "Finding Value for Lost Timber":
The values listed for hardwood pulpwood are simply unrealistic in West Virginia’s timber markets.  I have been working as a forester in WV for nearly a decade and have never sold or even heard of anyone paying $50-$100 per ton for hardwood pulpwood.  The highest rates that I’m aware of are around $36/ton for soft hardwood pulpwood, but this is a delivered price.  Landowners generally receive a stumpage rate, which is the value minus the cost of harvesting and freight.  Stumpage values range anywhere from $1.00/ton for hardwood pulp (oak, hickory, hard maple, locust, etc.) to $5.00/ton for soft hardwood pulp (poplar, soft maple, cucumber, basswood, beech, etc.).   Furthermore, $300/MBF International Rule is a bit inflated also.  I believe you are once again referring to a log value.  Timber does not attain this value until it has been delivered to a manufacturing facility, then being a value added product.  There are many variables that are taken into consideration when appraising the value of a stand of timber.  These variables must be considered before the final value is obtained. The local markets, species composition, access, operability, size of the trees, logger availability etc...

I would urge you to recommend that landowners contact the WV Division of Forestry for assistance in determining the value of their timber or hire a consultant.  I as a fellow member and landowner don’t wish for any of WVSORO’s members to negotiate with mistaken information.  They should seek advice from a professional.

We certainly share the sentiment that folks should seek advice from a professional -- on legal and other matters -- and we also want to make sure our members and others have accurate information when entering into negotiations, etc. Also we probably should have mentioned in the newsletter that we have a short list of experts, including foresters, that are willing to consult with and provide services specifically for surface owners'.

Membership Renewals

Many of you who joined in the summer and fall of last year will soon be receiving invitations to renew your membership. Please renew your membership when you receive your letter. If you can send extra for the lobbying at the Capitol, thank you. We understand that in this economy, many are struggling, but be as generous and you can to help us win this fight.

We greatly appreciate your support and encourage you to help us grow and build the political capital to change our laws to give surface owners' more rights and ensure landowners receive fair compensation for their losses and inconveniences. Please tell your friends and neighbors about WV SORO. Give them our contact information and encourage them to join. As always, feel free to contact us with any of your questions or concerns.  Thank You!

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