Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Senate Environmental Committee OKs Oil Council, Leaseholder Bills

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Wednesday approved legislation creating a PA Grade Crude Development Advisory Council and two bills protecting natural gas royalty interest owner rights.  The bills include--
-- Senate Bill 147 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) allowing royalty interest owners to inspect records of gas company to verify proper payment-- amended (sponsor summary);
-- Senate Bill 148 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) prohibit gas companies from retaliating against royalty interest owner (sponsor summary).
--  Senate Bill 279 (Hutchinson-R-Venango) establishing the PA Grade Crude Development Advisory Council (sponsor summary).
“Our goal is to ensure that leaseholders across Pennsylvania are treated fairly,” said Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Committee.  “Most notably in Bradford County, but across my district, leaseholders have contacted me with concern over inadequate payments and questionable deductions from their royalty checks.  This legislation will undoubtedly work to level the playing field.”
“These bills are needed to provide landowners with more accurate and complete information,” said Joel Rotz, Senior Director of State Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.  “The more information, the better relationship there is between landowners and gas developers.”
“Unfortunately, last session, this legislation was not approved by the House of Representatives,” Sen. Yaw added.  “Having these bills unanimously approved during the very first Senate Committee meeting of the new session is a clear sign that action on these bills is essential.  I do not intend to give up on this fight to protect the interests of my constituents.”
On the crude oil development bill, Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) said,  “The conventional oil industry is an important part of the regional economy in northwestern Pennsylvania – an economy that is already struggling. It cannot afford to be stymied by excessive and unnecessary regulatory burdens.
“The council created under my bill would work with the DEP to ensure that the differences between the operations are taken into account as these regulations and laws are developed and implemented.”
The bills are now on the Senate Calendar for consideration.
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) serves as Majority Chair and Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) serves as Minority Chair.

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