WV SORO Update Archive

March 6, 2009

Join Us for WV SORO Day at the Legislature ~ March 17, 2009

WV SORO day will be held on March 17, 2009 at the State Capitol.  This is a great opportunity to come down and show support for the Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights. Legislators will only be impressed by a strong turnout, so we hope you can attend.

We’ll gather in the Governor’s Press Conference Room (located in the Secretary of State’s Office, Room 157-K) at 9AM for refreshments and a short legislative briefing before heading out to speak with legislators. We’ll meet back at the Press Conference Room for a media event at 2PM.

Our lobby team will be available throughout the day to direct and guide you to the right places. (If you arrive after 10AM please call Norm (304) 881-8664 or Julie (304) 610-9094 to meet up.) We recommend you contact your legislators in advance to schedule an appointment for that day. Please contact us if you want help arranging your meeting, if you need a ride to Charleston or are willing to bring others from your area.

Please e-mail info@wvsoro.org or call (304) 346-5891 by Sunday, March 15, if you plan to attend WV-SORO Day -- we want to be sure to have plenty of refreshments on hand.

Surface Owner Protection Act Introduced in the Senate

The Surface Owners’ Protection Act (SB 478) was introduced this week in the Senate. Based on laws in New Mexico, it is a step up from current law, but as reported last week our own Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights (SB 374) has been reintroduced with some small modifications.  Both bills provide additional notice to surface owners and require a time period to allow for negotiation of a pre-drilling "Surface Use and Compensation Agreement" between the driller and surface owner. However, our bill gives more notice and requires the driller to offer to meet face-to-face with the landowner. The Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights also gives surface owners the right to purchase gas at cost from wells on their land, would compensate them for the market value of the property taken for well sites and access roads instead of letting the drillers pay us pasture value for a potential or future home site and would let landowners choose types of road construction and re-vegetation. 

We will be monitoring the Surface Owners’ Protection Act (SB 478), but of course focusing on getting our bill, the Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights (SB 374), passed.  Unfortunately, both bills will have to be considered and passed by three committees before reaching the Senate floor for a vote.  Both have been triple referenced to the Energy, Industry & Mining Committee, Judiciary and then to Finance. SB 374 sponsors are Senators Larry Edgell (D-Wetzel), Randy White (D-Webster) and Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall. Senators Kessler and White are also sponsors of SB 478, along with Senators Clark Barnes (R-Randolph), Truman Chafin (D-Mingo) and Erik Wells (D-Kanawha). 

The House version of these bills has yet to be introduced, although sponsors have already been secured.  We have 11 sponsors (the maximum) for the Surface Owners’ Bill of Rights — Delegates Bonnie Brown (D-Kanawha), Sam Argento (D-Nicholas), Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia), Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor), Dale Martin (D-Putnam), Clif Moore (D-McDowell), Ricky Moye (D-Raleigh), Brady Paxton (D-Putnam), Dan Poling (D-Wood), Mary Poling (D-Barbour) and Ralph Rodighiero (D-Logan).  We expect the bill to be assigned to Energy, Industry & Labor, Economic Development & Small Business (one committee with two chairs) and Judiciary.

If you Senator(s) or Delegate(s) are sponsors please take the time to thank them for their support. 

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