PA Prisons and Colleges May Lease Minerals

by Kenneth E. DuBose on October 21, 2011

Pennsylvania prisons and educational facilities may be granted the right to lease their minerals. Currently, only the conservation commission and the game commission benefit from mineral rights that sit atop the Marcellus Shale. The bill will broaden authority for oil & gas leasing on commonwealth lands.

If a separate bill passes, the facilities will get to keep 60% of the royalty revenue generated from the properties.

Land surrounding Pennsylvania’s state prisons and the State System of Higher Education colleges are among the commonwealth-owned property that should be considered for gas drilling, according to a report issued this morning.

Issued by a joint legislative committee, the report concludes that agencies beyond the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission should be allowed to enter into lease agreements for gas drilling. Those agencies also should be allowed to retain a portion of any drilling-related revenues, according to the report.

It also noted that 16 state prisons sit on top of the Marcellus Shale formation, mostly in the western portion of the state.

The recommendations in the report echo an interest from lawmakers in tweaking the existing law to broaden authority for leasing to gas drillers

A Senate measure to allow such mineral-rights leases awaits a final vote. Another measure in the House of Representatives would allow the State System colleges to keep 60 percent of any royalties payments for drilling on a college’s property, with the remaining 40 percent to be divided among system schools that are unable to host a Marcellus well.

Read the full news release at

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