Dead–but won’t stay dead (zombies anyone?). That’s the situation with forced pooling in West Virginia. Two months ago MDN reported that the forced pooling issue had once again died in the regular legislative session (see WV Forced Pooling Bill Dies in Committee, Yet Again). Drilling industry supporters vow that they will make yet another run at introducing and passing a law in the 2015 legislative session to allow forced pooling in the Mountain State. The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is adding its voice as a supporter of forced pooling. The Chamber has begun a publicity campaign to support forced pooling, complete with a website (www.poolingtogether.com).
Forced pooling is a contentious issue. A few obstinate and frankly unreasonable holdouts who resist drilling can spoil it for all of their neighbors. However, MDN remains firm in our view that property rights are sacrosanct. You shouldn’t be able to tell me I can’t allow drilling on or under my property–and I shouldn’t be able to tell you that you must allow it. We continue to believe that’s the only defensible position on the issue of forced pooling. West Virginia is one of the few active oil and gas states without a forced pooling law and the drilling industry aims to change that. Here’s more on the dead issue that just won’t stay dead in WV: