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Western Pa. Lawmaker Looks To Repeal New Pooling Law

Rep. Michele Brooks (R- Crawford)

Rep. Michele Brooks (R- Crawford)

Pennsylvania’s new oil and gas lease pooling law hasn’t officially taken effect yet, but at least one legislator already wants to repeal it.
Rep. Michele Brooks (R- Crawford) sent out a memo today seeking co-sponsorship to remove controversial language that allows pooling.
The legislation was originally promoted as an effort to bring more transparency to royalty check stubs by requiring drilling companies to clarify the deductions they take.
Most of the measure deals with that issue, but at the last minute amid budget negotiations, two sentences were added. The language gives drilling companies the power to combine leases into production units for horizontal drilling without the consent of landowners.
The measure passed overwhelmingly in both chambers. Brooks was among a small group of legislators who voted against it.
Less than two weeks after Governor Corbett signed the legislation, EQT Corp. used it to file a lawsuit against 70 property owners over drilling rights.
Citing the new law, EQT asserted the landowners no longer have the right to prohibit the company from conducting seismic testing in search of gas.
In her memo, Brooks highlights the benefits the gas industry has brought to the state, but argues the pooling law undermines landowners’ rights.
“While we need to continue to promote energy production, it is essential that we do so in a manner in which balances the rights of the landowners from which oil and gas are harvested,” she writes, “I believe we need to ensure that each property owner has the ability to fully negotiate the terms under which their oil and gas rights are leased.”

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