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Hearing Held in Washington Over Mineral Rights on Public Land

by Elizabeth Alford on April 27, 2016

The Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act is working its way through Congress.

Related: Proposed Law Will Uphold Private Property Rights

Last week, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resource held a hearing on HR 3881, also known as the “Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act. The bill was introduced in 2015 over concerns of mineral rights and drilling on federal lands. It is specifically in response to a court ruling that restricted the U.S. Forest Service’s efforts to regulate drilling on the Allegheny National Forest (ANF).

The bill, penned by U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa, repeals part of the Energy Act of 1992 in an effort to protect property-owners rights.

“The Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act of 2015 will ensure responsible production can occur without impediment,” said Thompson. “This legislation will provide clarity to the regulatory process and continue to respect the long-standing recognition of the fundamental importance of protecting private property rights.”

After many years of litigation stemming from a 2009 lawsuit, the courts have affirmed the Forest Service does not have the authority to regulate oil and gas production when those rights are held by private individuals. This piece of legislation formalizes the court’s decisions by making it law.

 “Our national forests are not national parks.  The oil and gas industry has been an essential part of northwestern Pennsylvania since the drilling of the first oil well in 1859.  This legislation would make sure the use of private mineral rights is a cornerstone of our region’s economic future.” Kevin Moody, Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association.

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