Monday, June 20, 2016

Rift Continues Between Drillers & Landowners re Royalty Bill

PA State Representative Garth Everett, was "smacked on the knuckles" directly by the drilling industry! 

Or was the "smack" delivered through their legislative shills like Gene Yaw, Joe Scarnatti, Mike Turzai, and Jeff Pyle? I was wondering, is this one of those pieces of legislation that gets introduced on behalf of the constituents - so the legislator could say "I tried", knowing full well it won't pass? 

By the way, landowners being screwed out of royalty payments is merely one reason "everybody hates oil and gas companies"The abusive taking of land via eminent domain, the lies, the bullying tactics used to get people to sign a lease or pipeline ROW, the poisoning of their drinking water, the toxic air quality, the loss of their property value, the total disruption of their way of life, etc., etc. 

A real legislative "champion of the people" would surely introduce legislation to address those issues as well to make sure royalty owners, as well as their impacted neighbors and communities are treated "fairly". Right? 

Maybe State Rep. Garth Everett should take more aggressive action, rather then simply trying to "call attention" or just "raise the profile of the issue."  (Sounds like your back-peddling.)

Perhaps State Rep. Garth Everett should introduce a bill that would require PA to conduct independent health impact studies in the Marcellus shalefields, too - like New York and Maryland did. 

Or, maybe he's afraid that would subject him to an actual public "flogging" and not just a symbolic "smack on the knuckles"? - JT

Rift Continues Between Drillers & Landowners re Royalty Bill

Garth Everett
Rep. Garth Everett
Last year yet another new bill was introduced by State Rep. Garth Everett to guarantee landowners get a minimum of 12.5% royalties–regardless of post-production deductions (see New Bill HB 1391 Will Guarantee PA Landowners 12.5% Royalties). Organizations like the PA chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) fully support the bill. However, drillers make the counterargument that duly signed contracts which allow for certain deductions should not be swept away with the stroke of a pen. The industry is steadfast against this and other bills like it. This spring HB 1391 got a brief hearing in the House (see Landowners vs Drillers: PA Minimum Royalty Bill Gets a Hearing). But since then–nothing. That is, until Rep. Everett attached HB 1391 as an amendment to another bill. Everett quickly withdrew his amendment–the purpose was to “call attention” to it and reignite the discussion. Everett was quickly smacked on the knuckles by the drilling industry who is not happy with him for his action…
A bill aimed at ensuring oil and gas royalty owners are paid fairly made a fleeting appearance at the Pennsylvania Capitol this week.
“I succeeded in bringing attention to the issue and to the bill,” says Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), who on Tuesday attached, and then quickly withdrew, his royalties bill as an amendment to another measure that ultimately passed the House and Senate.
In the wake of the Marcellus Shale boom, leaseholders have been complaining for years that they’re getting cheated out of royalty money by some of the nation’s biggest gas drillers. Before withdrawing the amendment, Everett spoke on the House floor and urged his colleagues to support changes to the state’s royalties law. He says the maneuver was simply to raise the profile of the issue.
“I got immediate feedback from the the governmental affairs folks from the Marcellus Shale Coalition and other gas producers,” says Everett. “They disagree with the premise of the bill and said, ‘Why are you doing this again?’ I said, ‘I’m doing this because royalty owners aren’t getting paid fairly.’”
“There’s a reason everybody hates oil and gas companies,” says NARO-PA president Jackie Root. “They got so outrageously greedy. If they can’t operate profitably, they should shut the wells in.”
Neither the Marcellus Shale Coalition nor the Pennsylvania division of the American Petroleum Institute would comment. Drillers have previously argued the bill could violate the state constitution by changing the terms of existing contracts they have with landowners.
Despite a failed attempt to get a different royalties bill passed last session, Everett says he’s pressing on with HB 1391, which has substantially different language. He is meeting with House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R- Indiana) next week to discuss it, but doesn’t expect it will advance before next fall.*
 *Harrisburg & Philadelphia (PA) StateImpact Pennsylvania (Jun 17, 2016) – Royalties bill makes very brief appearance at State Capitol

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