Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Marcellus gas royalties bill back in the spotlight in Pa.

                                                                                                                 MariE CUSICK/ STATEIMPACT PA
"The Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act of 1979 was enacted to avoid some of these predatory practices," says Bradford County businessman and royalty owner Dave DeCristo. "Obviously people were getting ripped off."

Royalty advocates were back in Harrisburg Tuesday urging lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent drillers from cheating landowners out of money.
Marie Cusick of State Impact reports:
“The legislature should clearly define ‘royalty’ to prevent the theft of our resources through creative accounting,” says Jackie Root, who heads the state chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners.
Shortly after the Marcellus boom took off, people began complaining some drillers were shortchanging them. Most of the complaints have focused on Chesapeake Energy, which has been sued over the issue around the country. The issue is complicated, and it often revolves around who pays for post-production costs, which the expenses of moving gas from the well to the market and include things like compression, dehydration, and pipeline transport.
In 2013 Rep. Garth Everett (R- Lycoming) introduced a bill to attempt to address the problem. Although the measure was approved by a House committee, it never made it to the floor for a vote. He later blamed the House GOP leadership for blocking it.
Last summer Everett revived the effort. The new bill has 37 co-sponsors from both parties. On Tuesday the House Environmental Resources and Energy committee held an informational hearing and heard testimony from landowners who say they’ve been cheated, as well as representatives from the Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which have also had trouble get paid properly.

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