Lawmaker Doesn't Know How Gas Lease Pooling Language Got Into Bill
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports a state lawmaker who sponsored a controversial amendment allowing gas companies to pool leases, says he doesn’t know where the idea came from.
An organization representing Pennsylvania’s mineral owners is angered over the bill, which sailed through the General Assembly last week.
The Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners argues the measure could adversely impact some people who signed leases years ago and didn’t anticipate modern shale gas drilling.
The legislation gives companies the ability to combine land parcels for horizontal drilling, unless it’s explicitly prohibited in the lease.
According to the Tribune-Review, Representative Garth Everett (R-Lycoming County) isn’t sure how the language got into the bill:
“I’m serious. I don’t know who exactly proposed (that amendment). We had a lot of proposals going into the bill,” Everett said. “Legislation is brought to us by staff. I send them ideas, and they put them into a form of legislation and come back. Where the idea came from, who proposed this … section, I don’t know who that individual was.”
Everett did remember a lobbyist from EQT Corp. had stopped him in a Capitol hallway to encourage the bill’s passage. That’s so common in Harrisburg that he could not remember other specific people from interest groups who had talked to him, he said.
The bill now awaits Governor Corbett’s signature. He has not indicated whether he plans to approve it.
Corbett has said publicly he would not sign a bill containing language related to “forced pooling” — which would give drillers the right to take gas from a property owner who has not signed a lease. This bill only allows companies to combine existing leases.