senate bill 576

Started March 23, 2017 at 12:20 pm by @Perrylkeaton in GoMarcellusShale

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03/23/17 12:20:20PM

  URGENT - Call members of the WV Senate Judiciary Committee TODAY

SB 576 has been re-written.  Farm Bureau LIKES the new language on co-tenancy.

However, WE CANNOT SUPPORT the language as written under section 37-B-1-5 on joint development or damages.


Senator Trump – Chair (304) 357-7980

Senator Weld - Vice-Chair (304) 357-7984

Senator Azinger (304) 357-7970

Senator Beach (304) 357-7919

Senator Clements (304) 357-7827

Senator Cline (304) 357-7807

Senator Ferns (304) 357-7918

Senator Jeffries (304) 357-7866

Senator Karnes (304) 357-7906

Senator Maynard (304) 357-7808

Senator Miller (304) 357-7959

Senator Ojeda (304) 357-7857

Senator Romano (304) 357-7904

Senator Rucker (304) 357-7957

Senator Smith (304) 357-7995

Senator Swope (304) 357-7843

Senator Woelfel  (304) 357-7956

West Virginians deserve #fairdevelopment

03/23/17 01:07:52PM @sally:
Please be kind when you call. One secretary told me I was the first caller to be kind to her all day.
03/23/17 01:42:31PM @pete:

that was nice of you sally, no reason for anybody to be mean theses people are just doing a job

Leo Schumacher
03/24/17 10:24:44AM @leo:

I understand very well the value of politeness and being sensitive.  However I believe mineral owners have a right to be angry.  They should be angry this bill legally binds them into an unwilling contract they don't want and no representing attorney would approve. They should be angry they have to spend energy and money to fight another bad bill.  They should be especially angry the legislature even permitted another forced pooling bill to be created.  They should be angry a bill that permanently bans forced pooling is not introduced.  They should be angry they may be forced to to become a partner in a new Utica shale well with the very same company that just raped them in the production of Marcellus wells.  They should be angry that the ability to have proper representation and a free market is taken away.  I firmly believe this situation requires making it very clear to all senators and their staff not just opposition to the bill, but anger over the whole situation regarding forced pooling and the senate's behavior.  Rather than being polite, I think showing emotion should be demonstrated.  I am tired of this unethical body and it needs to go. Unfortunately, the legislature does not possess the character, courage, and moral to do what is right, and I for one am very angry about it. 

Royalties are a means to provide for health care, education, retirement and other financial plans.  When I lose my ability to provide for those items because a financial asset which I own is taken away from me, I have a demonstrable right to be angry and passionate over it.  I take the risk of purchasing the financial asset, paying taxes on it as I own it, and I better keep my right to have representation on the content in a contract and determine market value.  If a senator is not willing to take my call to understand how angry and passionate I am, and should be, his staff then carries the responsibility to deliver that message to her/him.

03/25/17 09:30:24AM @pete:

yes we should be very angry, as always it seems the one-sided government sides with industry and instead of bringing clarity and unburdening the common tax payer
they only offer more uncertainty. they should settle it and be done, if it was not written into a contract then its not legal to do period, just because industry changes gives them no right to alter contracts---let the mineral owners start billing for monthly well access, depletion deprecation,  nature damage assessment, reimbursement for surface tax, mineral tax etc how would that go over

Nancy Mosley
03/25/17 10:51:17AM @nancy-mosley:

I think part of the trouble in WV is that many mineral owners live out of state (due to the way migration from the state happened over the years, where people sold the farm, retained the minerals and moved to Ohio and beyond). Probably less the case in some other states. How many mineral owners are donors to legislators compared to how many companies? It should not be the case that campaign money influences legislative decisions but of course that is exactly how it works. And Frank Deem, an influential legislator, is a company owner I believe.

WV Mineral Owner
03/25/17 11:27:01AM @wv-mineral-owner:

Well stated Nancy-Mosley

03/25/17 11:16:28PM @pete:
Dear Members

This week has been a busy week. I thank all of you for making your voices heard and putting the pressure necessary to obtain changes to SB 576. Due to the changes to the bill, WVROA now STRONGLY SUPPORTS SB 576.

Our primary concern in the face of a near certain bad decision in the Leggett case, along with the threat that poses to the Tawney decision, is post production expenses. However, it has been impossible to get industry to include language in any bill to prohibit these deductions until now. If SB 576 passes, gas companies CANNOT take post production expenses from royalties on any wells drilled after its passage. We have fought a long, hard battle to obtain this concession, and it will be a long hard battle to pass, but I hope you will help us.

There are many other changes that protect land and mineral owners as well. I will begin by describing the way co-tenancy is structured in the bill. On an individual tract, the gas company can drill once they have leased 75% of the owners and made a reasonable effort to negotiate with all owners. For the minority they cannot obtain a lease from, there are two choices. The first choice is to accept a lease bonus and a royalty rate equal to the highest of the majority co tenants FREE OF POST PRODUCTION EXPENSES. The second choice is to be a carried interest owner with a 200% risk penalty. This choice means you keep the gas companies share of production and the well based on your acreage, and the company gets your share of the costs of drilling from your revenue share once the well is drilled. This choice essentially makes you a co-owner of the well and a partner with the gas company, and is NOT a choice they want you to make.

​Any tract where co-tenancy is used, the driller must obtain the surface owner’s consent before using the surface above the mineral tract. This is also a huge concession to surface owners that currently cannot block mineral owners from using the surface to access their minerals. We as royalty owners feel this is an important concession of our right to the surface owner in order to protect the value of the surface owner’s property.

​The lease integration, sometimes called joint development, portion of the bill now includes the language to prevent post production deductions from new wells drilled on old leases. I know it is hard to give up the renegotiation of old held by production leases, but after the Ascent Resources decision in Tyler county, we see the writing on the wall that it is highly likely the courts, as Judge Hummel did, will recognize an implied right to pool where leases are silent. The loss in the Ascent case as well as the rehearing in the Leggett case put all royalty owners in a very difficult position, and WVROA feels very strongly the post production deduction issue is the more important thing to protect against.

​Once again I thank all of you for the calls you make and the emails you send. SB 576 is on its way to a vote of the full Senate. I hope you will call your Senators and Delegates now IN SUPPORT of SB 576 and we can finally have a good bill that protects both royalty owners and surface owners.


Tom Huber

03/26/17 02:44:57AM @sally:

Isn't post productions expenses what the big case against EQT a few years ago was all about.  The case that they lost.  Isn't it already illegal to take post production costs?  (though I know some do it)

03/26/17 09:13:36AM @beezlenut:

EQT lost a case just last year, in WV.  Unfortunately, the WV Supreme Court has agreed to an appeal request, and the case will be before the court again in April, this time with a new, business friendly judge on the panel.

Adam Martin
03/26/17 09:40:51PM @adam-martin:

I for one cannot believe a group who says they stand for Royalty Owners would go along with the blatent taking of private property.  The minimum royalty that owners should receive is 12.5% and producers are already take deductions, lowering Royalty Owners share below the 12.5%. So why exactly does the WVROA think they will follow the law this time?  Producers agree to not take what they should arleady not be taking and you somehow feel that this is a big win?  Where is the section of this house bill does it state a common standard for paying royalty owners a fair market price?  Why are Royalty Owners having production costs, tranportation fee's and market enhancements taken from their checks and being paid for low, regional gas hub prices?  No doubt my producer has hedged 90% of their production, part of which my family pays for but we continue to get the lowest price possible.  Producers clearly state in their quarterly reports or monthly presentations the hedge price they receive for their production, they should also be forced to say how much they pay Royalty Owners or should I saw how much is stolen!  Producers look for and take every advantage possible and for some reason the WVROA is asking for Royalty Owners to back a law that allows producers to legally steal private property.  

The state of West Virginia is broke and it appears that all these elected officials have sold their soul to the devil.   Rather than cutting into their cushy pensions or make sure that producers pair their fair share, they will take from those who have no choice but sit and watch their royalties be stolen from...

04/01/17 12:43:17PM @pete:
576 has been reassigned to the House Energy Committee.

There will be a public hearing on this bill Monday morning at 9:00 am in the House of Delegates Chambers.

If you are able, you should go speak about the bill.

If you are unable, please make some calls and send some emails to the House Judiciary Committee this weekend.

Here is a list of House Energy Committee members compiled by WV SORO:

John Shott (R-Mercer), Chair (304) 340-3252
Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay), Vice Chair (304) 340-3252
Barbara Evans Fleischauer (D-Monongalia), Minority Chair 340-3127
Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio), Minority Vice Chair (304) 340-3270
Andrew Byrd (D-Kanawha) (304) 340-3362
Joe Canestraro (D-Marshall) (304) 340-3151
Moore Capito (R-Kanawha) (304) 340-3340
Frank Deem (R-Wood) (304) 340-3137
Tom Fast (R-Fayette) (304) 340-3170
Geoff Foster (R-Putnam) (304) 340-3121
Nancy Reagan Foster (R-Putnam) (304) 340-3392
Ray Hollen (R-Wirt) (304) 340-3136
Phil Isner (D-Randolph) (304) 340-3145
Kayla Kessinger (R-Fayette) (304) 340-3197
Charlotte Lane (R-Kanawha) (304) 340-3183
Chad Lovejoy (D-Cabell) (304) 340-3280
Rodney Miller (D-Boone) (304) 340-3184
Riley Moore (R-Jefferson) (304) 340-3248
John D. O’Neal IV (R-Raleigh) (304) 340-3164
John Overington (R-Berkeley) (304) 340-3148
Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha) (304) 340-3106
Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha) (304) 340-3156
Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell) (304) 340-3175
Amy Summers (R-Taylor) (304) 340-3139
Mark Zatezalo (R-Hancock) (304) 340-3120

Send a personalized email to all committee members by copying the list below and pasting into your email “To:” field:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

- See more at:

04/02/17 07:46:41AM @sally:

Please note that the chance for public in put in to the EQT bill (forced pooling , lease "integration" and "cotenancy") will be 9 A. M. Monday in the House of Delegates chamber.  For those not familiar, take I-77 to Greenbrier St. exit. turn right on Washington Street to Elizabeth St. (stoplight) and turn right and park in free lot at Laidley field.  Free shuttle bus runs every 10 minutes or so.  Get off at east capitol entrance.  The bill "adds invisible ink" to old contracts and leaves 1800s royalties intact and leaves the fixed price leases (1 1/2 cents/mcf on 1/8th) intact as well.  Also since old leases do not mention NGLs (natural gas liquids), well . . . .  Since other parts of old leases remain intact, one can place large well pads where the original lessors visualized a small area where one would construct a standard rig or some such.

04/03/17 02:02:16PM @pete:


Providing exception to waste for certain oil and gas development


Date Chamber Action
2017-03-31 House To House Energy
2017-03-31 House To Energy
2017-03-31 House The bill still being in possession of the clerk
2017-03-31 House Introduced in House
2017-03-29 Senate Ordered to House
2017-03-29 Senate Passed Senate with amended title (Roll No. 282)
2017-03-29 Senate Read 3rd time
2017-03-29 Senate Clements Floor amendment rejected (Voice vote)
2017-03-29 Senate Ferns Floor amendment #2 adopted (Voice vote)
2017-03-29 Senate Romano Floor amendments #1 rejected (Roll No. 281)
2017-03-29 Senate Romano Floor amendment #4 rejected (Roll No. 280)
2017-03-29 Senate Romano Floor amendment #3 rejected (Voice vote)
2017-03-29 Senate Romano Floor amendment #2 adopted (Voice vote)
2017-03-29 Senate Ferns Floor amendment adopted (Voice vote)
2017-03-28 Senate Laid over on 3rd reading 3/28/17 with right to amend
2017-03-28 Senate Deferred until foot of 2nd reading
2017-03-27 Senate Laid over on 3rd reading 3/27/17 with right to amend
2017-03-27 Senate On 3rd reading with right to amend
2017-03-25 Senate Read 2nd time
2017-03-25 Senate On 2nd reading
2017-03-24 Senate Read 1st time
2017-03-24 Senate Immediate consideration
2017-03-24 Senate Committee substitute reported
2017-03-10 Senate To Judiciary
2017-03-10 Senate Introduced in Senate
2017-03-10 Senate To Judiciary
2017-03-10 Senate Filed for introduction


Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 2-0)
Status: Engrossed on March 29 2017 - 50% progression
Action: 2017-03-31 - To House Energy
Pending: House Energy CommitteeHearing: Apr 3 @ 8:00 am in House Chamber
Text: Latest bill text (Engrossed) [HTML]


The purpose of this bill is to provide an exception to waste for certain oil and gas development, and to encourage the efficient and economic development of oil and gas resources by providing that a lawful use of mineral property that has been consented to by two thirds of the mineral interest owners is permissible, is not waste, and is not a trespass. The bill provides that cotenants are not liable for damages for the use of their mineral property when an accounting is provided and the prorata share of revenues and costs are distributed to each consenting cotenant or reserved for unknown or unlocatable tenants. The bill also provides for an acreage weighted average royalty interest, free of post-production expenses, to each nonconsenting cotenant. The bill prevents waste by authorizing the development by horizontal drilling of multiple adjacent leases held by the same operator provided that the operator has a surface use agreement with all surface owners whose tracts may be disturbed by joint development. The bill also addresses the manner by which royalties are distributed to owners affected by joint development, and provides that the royalties may not be reduced by post-production expenses. Finally, the bill provides its provisions are severable.




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