District Court Judge Asks WV Supremes to Rule in Surface Rights Case

Waaaay back in July 2011 MDN told you about an interesting legal case in West Virginia in which a surface rights landowner was suing XTO because XTO is (in the opinion of the landowner) abusing the right to set up a well pad on his surface in order to get gas not only under the surface of his property, but also from his neighbors’ property (see WV Marcellus Legal Battle over Well Pads: Surface Rights Owners v. Mineral Rights Owners). The surface landowner, Richard Cain, acknowledges law and precedent allows XTO to set up a well on his land in order to get the gas under his land—but Cain maintains XTO isn’t really all that interested in getting it from under his land, but simply wants to use his convenient location to reach other nearby properties. Cain gets all of the headaches and none of the royalty money. Kind of a raw deal, from his perspective. Can’t blame him.

There is a new development in the case. The judge presiding over the case, U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley, has formally asked the WV Supreme Court to rule on the key question in the case since it will set a precedent (and has far-reaching consequences) for the entire state…

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