Landowner Protection Bills Approved
8, 2014- Hanson Quickel
– Three bills expanding the rights of landowners who are currently leased with
natural gas companies were approved today with strong bipartisan support by the
full state Senate, according to prime sponsor, Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
legislation, known as the Oil and Gas Lease Protection Package, aims to provide
more protections for landowners.
three-bill package aims to level the playing field in favor of Pennsylvania
landowners who are looking for fair treatment when leasing their land,” Yaw
said. “Hopefully, these bills, along
with other legislative and investigative efforts that are presently underway,
will resolve many of the royalty issues which have been brought to the
attention of local legislators. I’m sure
the House of Representatives will also see the merit in approving this
first bill, Senate Bill 1236, would expand upon the Oil and Gas Lease Act by
allowing royalty interest owners the opportunity to inspect records of natural
gas companies to verify proper payments. In addition, the bill requires all royalty payments be made within 60
days of production unless otherwise stated in the contract. Any delinquent payments are to be paid with
second bill, Senate Bill 1237, would prohibit a gas company from retaliating
against any royalty interest owner by terminating their lease agreement or
ceasing development on leased property because a royalty interest owner
questions the accuracy of current royalty payments. Companies found to have violated the
provisions of this act face civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day.
third bill, Senate Bill 1238, would require a gas company to record a surrender
document in the county Recorder of Deeds office where the oil and gas well is
located within 30 days upon expiration, termination, or forfeiture of an oil
and gas lease. The surrender document will release the gas company’s interests
in the oil and gas. This is similar to what a mortgage company would be
required to do after a mortgage was paid in full.