The Real Story of Why Forced Pooling Bill Failed in WV

knickers in a twistYesterday MDN reported a story that (so far) few others have bothered to report: West Virginia’s House Bill (HB) 2688 failed to gain passage at literally the eleventh hour–one hour before the annual 60-day session ended (see Republicans (!) Help Defeat WV Forced Pooling at 11th Hour). We believed, and repeated, the reporting we saw on the final vote–that Republicans were largely responsible for the last minute defeat of the bill. That was inaccurate. We were contacted yesterday by Ron Hayhurst, head of the West Virginia Royalty Owners Association, who was himself very much a part of brokering what he believes is the best possible bill (HB2688) to protect mineral rights owners in the Mountain State. Ron told us the last minute change in the House vote had nothing to do with Republicans defecting–and he is right. Although House Del. Pat McGeehan (a Republican) voted “no” both times, he was not the hero of the day, as reported in some media accounts. The truth is this: WV Democrats got their knickers in a twist over losing several other votes last Saturday and they decided to punish the Republicans by denying them passage of this bill. The original House vote was 60-40 in favor of HB2688. The final vote was 49-49 tie (with 2 people missing in action for the final vote). Of the 11 who changed their votes (names below) from “yes” the first time to “no” the second time–all 11 were Democrats. There were two Republicans who changed from an original “no” to vote “yes”–but it wasn’t enough to eke out a win. Hayhurst says when forced pooling is passed (a question of when, not if) the bill may not be as favorable to mineral rights owners as this one was…

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