WV Legislature Makes Another Run at Forced Pooling/Unitization

Breaking news: The West Virginia Legislature is once again taking up the issue of forced pooling–or as they are calling it, “unitization”. The forced pooling bill was introduced once again, as it has been for several years running, just a few days ago. Each year the WV legislature meets for a 60-day session and that’s it. So work has to get done quickly. An alert MDN reader tipped us that later today the House of Delegates Energy Committee will consider H.B. 4558 (full copy of the bill embedded below) at a 3 pm session today. The committee must vote to report the bill out of committee before a vote by the entire House can be taken. Will that happen? Not sure.

According to the West Virginia Natural Gas Blog (written by law firm Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins), both of WV’s natural gas associations are in favor of the bill. MDN has not had time to read/review the bill and therefore won’t (at this time) render an opinion. But our long-standing view remains unchanged–we take a dim view of forced pooling period. Unitization–the right to re-sell already-leased land, or to include small bits of land where the owner cannot be tracked down after a good-faith effort–is one thing. Coming in and saying 51% of your neighbors have signed, we’ll take yours too if you don’t–that’s a completely different matter and for us, should not be done. We’re sure there will be more press on today’s hearing, which we’ll bring you when we see it…

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