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Methane Rules Stand

by Elizabeth Alford on June 16, 2017

In a surprise move, the United States Senate has voted to keep Obama’s methane ruling.

Related: EPA: Tougher Methane Emissions Approved

Last month, key Republicans joined Democrats to uphold the power granted to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) during the Obama Administration to regulate some the oil and gas activity. The BLM had been granted the authority to set requirements to restrict methane leaks and excessive flaring.

“Improving the control of methane emissions is an important public health and air quality issue, which is why some states are moving forward with their own regulations requiring greater investment in recapture technology. I join the call for strong action to reduce pollution from venting, flaring, and leaks associated with oil and gas production operations on public and Indian land.” – Rep. Senator John McCain

John McCain (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joined the entire body of Democrats to uphold the provision.

The methane rule was part a plan designed by former President Obama to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 – 45 percent by 2025. It included:

  • Allowing the BLM to set standards to prevent methane leaks and excessive flaring
  • Allowed the BLM to inspect drilling operations for leaks of methane
  • Oil and gas companies must pay royalties on natural gas extracted from operations on federal and tribal lands

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Ohio Counties Benefit from Oil and Gas Lease Sales

by Elizabeth Alford on May 21, 2017

Ohio counties are reaping the benefits from the controversial sale of oil and gas leasing rights.

Related: Anti-fracking campaigns in Wayne National Forest

At the end of 2016, the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auctioned off acreage in the Wayne National Forest for future gas exploration and production. The $1.7 million deal included more than 700 acres sold to 22 companies.

The sale came after many months of protests and debate pitting environmentalists against mineral rights owners in the state. After conducting numerous environmental impact studies, the BLM determined there would be no significant impact to the forest.

The state of Ohio received $425,000 form the sale and plans to distribute a share to each county according to the amount of acreage sold.

“The money goes to the county to be divided. The school district gets 68 percent, and the rest is to be divided between the townships, local governments and levies. This is only initial sales, not royalties.” – Commissioner Mick Schumacher, Monroe County

The BLM plans to continue these sales with many believing that the proceeds will benefit landowners as well as low-income families in the Appalachian foothills.

A total of 38,000 acres of national forest land is potentially available for oil and gas drilling through these federal auctions.

The Bureau has tentatively scheduled the next auction for June 22.

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Colorado Attempts to Limit Forced Pooling

April 19, 2017

Colorado lawmakers introduce a bill hoping to limit forced pooling of mineral rights in the state. Related: Colorado’s Setback Rule is a Game Changer Current law authorizes forced pooling in Colorado, and House HB17-1336 would bring additional restrictions on the practice. It will require that at least a majority of the royalty interest owners must join in […]

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Pennsylvania Considers Minimum Royalties

April 12, 2017

Pennsylvania lawmakers try for a third time to pass legislation that would provide minimum royalties for unconventional oil and gas well production. Own minerals in Pennsylvania? Join the discussion here. Representative Garth Everett [R] has re-introduced a bill that will amend the Oil and Gas Lease Act from 1979. This is the third time that the […]

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West Virginia Kills Pooling Bill

April 9, 2017

West Virginia lawmakers have killed a bill that would have forced pooling in the state. Related: West Virginia Oil and Gas Lease Basics Senate Bill 576, had been the top priority this session for the state’s natural gas industry. The bill would allow drilling over the objections of a co-owner of mineral rights. Through “co-tenancy”, companies […]

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Idaho: Landowner Bill of Rights Considered

March 9, 2017

Proposed legislation in Idaho would represent a total overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulations. Own mineral rights in Idaho? Join the conversation here. Rep. Judy Boyle introduced HB 232 last week, a 45-page bill would require oil and gas producers to submit monthly reports for every operating well. This information would then be […]

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Texas Royalties & Taxes Drop Dramatically

February 21, 2017

Oil and natural gas revenues in Texas has declined steadily since the bust two years ago, with The Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) reporting a 40% decline since 2014. Related: Texas Schools Fight to Survive The Texas budget relies on sales taxes, which account for 58% of all statewide tax collections. As the shale boom […]

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Devon Faces Thousands of Unhappy Mineral Owners

February 16, 2017

Devon Energy lost another round in its fight against a lawsuit brought by thousands in North Texas who claim they were cheated out of royalties. Related: Landowners Lose Negligence Battle in Texas A Dallas federal judge sided with Denton County property owners last month, when he allowed a class-action lawsuit against Devon to move forward. U.S. […]

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Mineral Estate Conservation Easements Provide Flexibility

February 1, 2017

A Stanford professor is touting a new way for private landowners to limit fracking on their land without government regulation. Related: EPA Releases Fracking Assessment Rob Jackson, professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, leads a team of legal scholars who have assessed how a conservation easement could enable individual landowners to restrict fracking on […]

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New Minimum Royalty Rates

January 18, 2017

Just days before President Obama is set to leave office, he released new shale regulations establishing minimum royalty rates and giving the Secretary of the Interior discretion for increases. Related: BLM: New Rules Will Ensure Accurate Royalties The ruling is designed to protect the environment and ensure that taxpayers are fairly compensated, should shale on federal […]

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