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West Virginia to Reconsider Forced Pooling

by Elizabeth Alford on January 6, 2016

Mineral owners in West Virginia are preparing to fight new legislation that would force pooling in the state.

Related: Forced Pooling in West Virginia

Lawmakers are primed to re-introduce legislation in the upcoming 2016 session that would compel mineral rights owners to pool their natural gas resources. In essence the law would supersede mineral rights owners’ control over their natural resources when a certain percentage of their neighbors have agreed to be in the pool.

Last year, state legislators considered another forced pooling bill, but it died on the last night of the legislative session when a tie vote caused the bill to fail in the House of Delegates.

One organization that is opposing the bill calling for “lease integration” is the Southern West Virginia Mineral Owners Coalition. Their members are mineral rights owners from Raleigh, Greenbrier, Summers and Monroe counties with typically small tracts of land. The Coalition met just before Christmas to strategist their opposition to the 2016 bill.

Several members spoke with the WV Register-Herald about their negative experiences and pooling:

 “The industry should not have the right to forcibly take property from private landowners. I do not want to sell the minerals on my land and want my children and grandchildren to have the same rights to our land as I do today.” Mineral owner, Basil Keaton

“It is legalized robbery. Forced pooling is simply more of the same old thing from our corporate legislature and their Washington pals. The citizens of (West Virginia) are of no consequence whatsoever.” Mineral owner, Jon McLaughlin

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