Twitter Fight Over PA HB 1391 Royalty Bill

tweetmeChanneling our inner Joan Rivers: Can we talk? It hurts when a good friend publicly criticizes you. It feels like you’ve been stabbed in the back. Perhaps a case of public criticism is one of the reasons for the developing rancor (we call it a civil war) between landowners and the Marcellus industry in Pennsylvania. Landowners are upset that their royalty checks are, in some cases, pennies–as in less than one dollar. Drillers claim that super low prices they receive for the gas are to blame–that nobody is making money right now. Landowners say that drillers (e.g. Chesapeake Energy) are deducting post-production costs that they shouldn’t be allowed to deduct, resulting in worthless royalty checks. For a number of years landowners in Pennsylvania have supported legislation to force drillers to pay a minimum 12.5% royalty, which is stipulated under a 1979 law. Drillers say post-production costs are written into many contracts and if it’s there, landowners must live by the contract. It’s turning into a mess. We’ve covered it extensively (see our articles on HB 1391). When we write about it, it’s from the perspective of a broken heart that we have a civil war brewing. When mainstream media writes about it, it’s typically with some degree of glee and happiness that “the other side” has infighting going on. An article appearing in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does a good job of summarizing what we’ve previously posted on the issue. However, the Post-Gazette article adds one new bit of information we didn’t know about: earlier this summer there was a Twitter fight/dust-up between PA-NARO (National Association of Royalty Owners) and the MSC (Marcellus Shale Coalition)…

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