Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Tuesday expressed optimism following comments made by Attorney General Kathleen Kane into her investigation of natural gas post-production cost deductions from royalties by Chesapeake Energy Corporation.
During questioning before the state Senate Appropriations Committee, Kane revealed that the Anti-Trust and Bureau of Consumer Protection Divisions of the Attorney General’s Office have conducted hundreds of interviews with landowners, receiving land leases and documents, since last year.
“I can’t comment on where it (investigation) is right now, but I can tell you that we’re almost wrapping it up,” Attorney General Kane noted. “It was a very thorough investigation. I really want to commend our office. That was a lot of interviews to do in parts of the state, it takes a while to travel to, as well.”
“I was very pleased to hear that the Attorney General’s investigation into this issue will be wrapping up soon,” Sen. Yaw said. “My office has corresponded directly with General Kane since last year and sent over 50 leases on behalf of my constituents to her office for her consideration. This is a huge issue for people I represent.”
As early as 2013, Sen. Yaw convened a public hearing of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee to further examine this issue.
“During our hearing, the committee heard testimony that deductions by Chesapeake were as high as 100 percent of some royalty checks,” Sen. Yaw said. “This raises a significant consumer protection issue for hundreds of constituents in my Senate district.”
In light of the ongoing issues, Yaw also introduced a package of legislation, known as the Oil and Gas Lease Protection Package, which would seek to improve and enhance transparency in lease agreements.An audio file of Attorney General Kane’s full testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee is available online.