WV-SORO Legislative 2020 Update 1

West Virginia
Surface Owners’ Rights Organization
Feb 7, 2020 View this Alert Online


Good Evening, Land Owners! 

We are 40% of the way through the legislative session, and bills for surface owners are moving right along! We are tracking several bills, moving through both chambers. 

H.B. 4090: Creating the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund reduces the severance tax on low producing wells (5 to 60,000 MCF of gas a day) to 2.5% and dedicates that remaining 2.5% to plugging orphaned wells. On Monday February 3, this bill is on the first reading in the House. 

H.B. 4091: Allowing for expedited oil and gas permitting upon payment of applicable expedited fees allows drillers to pay an extra permit fee for an expedited permit review. The extra fees are split between administrative monies for the DEP and the other half goes to plugging orphaned wells. This bill has passed the House, and is on first reading in the Senate on Monday February 3rd.

S.B. 316: Relating to oil and gas conservation commission membership requires the “public” member of the OGCC to be a surface/mineral owner with no industry history!  The OGCC (Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) decides reviews of some cotenancy leases and force pools mineral owners for horizontal Utica wells.  Two members are industry types, two members are from the DEP, and one member is supposed to be for the “public”. However, Governor Justice appointed as the “public” member someone who makes money as an expert witness for the industry, who was formerly the head of two industry organizations, and who was the 2014 “Gas Man of the Year”.  Read our press release about that.  The industry got SB 316 introduced in order to make it easier to find someone to fill one of the industry slots.  We and the Farm Bureau want it amended to make sure the current public member has to be replaced by a person who owns surface and minerals! This bill is on first reading in the Senate on Monday February 3rd. Let your Senators and Delegates know we want changes to the CURRENT public member.

Updated: January 26, 2021 — 12:30 pm
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