PA Landowners “Furious” Over Royalties, Backdoor Lease Changes

An off-hand comment by a Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf staffer has landowners in northeast PA hopping mad–and with good reason. Speaking on the topic of PA landowners getting screwed out of royalty payments by drillers deducting inflated post-production costs (sometimes sending royalty statements where landowners OWE the drillers money!), Wolf deputy policy director Sam Robinson said this: “I think there was a crescendo of that kind of claim in 2015 to 2016…There’s been real movement in a positive direction on that issue.” Really? Not according to Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko and National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) PA president Jackie Root. Not only is the issue not resolved, but the industry, under the prompting of EQT, snuck through an “environmental rider” in the recently passed-and-signed-into-law Fiscal Code bill (called Section 1610) that gives drillers a back door to reactivate old, non-producing wells after they have not been producing (and the lease considered terminated) under certain conditions (see PA Republican Senate Changes Lease Terms for Landowners). Far from moving in a “positive direction” as Robinson stated, landowners in PA are “furious” according to McLinko, and feel as if they have been “thrown under the bus” according to Root…

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