CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Pending legislation to authorize drilling for natural gas where 75 percent of a West Virginia property’s landowners agree has received mixed reviews at a public hearing in the state Legislature.
At the House Judiciary Committee hearing Friday, representatives of drilling and supply companies say the so-called “co-tenancy” proposal will remove an obstacle to more jobs and gas production from the state’s large underground reserves.
Environmentalists say it promises further air, water and noise pollution.
Landowners gave conflicting testimony, several backing further protections contained in a revised pending proposal and some criticizing what they call the proposed overall taking of minority owners’ property rights.
The bill says non-consenting co-tenants can choose a pro-rated share of the highest owner royalties without post-production expenses, or else a share of production revenues and costs.