Rare Schism Between Landowners & Drillers over PA Royalty Law

Several weeks ago MDN told you that the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners had sent out a flash email to encourage support of House Bill (HB) 1684, the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act. The bill would clear up shady dealings from Chesapeake Energy (and perhaps others) in deducting certain expenses leaving some landowners with checks for royalties way under the 12.5% guaranteed minimum (see PA NARO Alert: Tell Your State Rep to Vote YES on HB 1684). Not long after NARO sounded the rallying cry, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau joined NARO in supporting HB 1684 (see PA Farm Bureau Joins Chorus Against Chessy on Royalty Issue).

However, this is one issue on which landowners, who are strongly pro-drilling, and the drilling industry itself, part ways. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, through its new grassroots organization called Shale Advocates, is asking shale supporters to oppose HB 1684. According to the Shale Advocates website, they want their supporters to “Take a few moments to contact your representative and let them know you oppose HB1684 and any effort by the Commonwealth to intervene in private contracts. Here’s your opportunity to be heard. Your voice will make a difference.” After HB 1684 has been larded up with amendments, NARO met to consider whether or not they would still support it and in the end, they see more to like than no like about the bill–so they issued the following press release last week to reaffirm their strong support:

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