By Andrea Lannom
The Register-Herald of Beckley
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislators anticipate co-tenancy to be one of the top energy issues to come up in this year’s West Virginia legislative session.
Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood, said his vision is to enact such legislation, which he believes will simplify the process when there are multiple owners in a single tract of land.
Anderson and others spoke to the media Friday at the 2018 West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Lookahead.
“Right now, it is very difficult to find the missing owners who may have had interest in minerals passed down over generations,” Anderson said.
Charlie Burd, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association, explained co-tenancy deals with a single tract of land whereas lease integration combines several tracts of land with many
different owners. He said there are times when 15 to 20, sometimes hundreds of people can have ownership of a particular tract of land.
“If you have just one that would refuse to develop that tract of land, you wouldn’t be able to go after that tract of land,” Burd said.
Last year, a bill dealing with co-tenancy died in the Legislature. Under this bill, 75 percent of landowners had to agree to development. Sen. Glenn Jeffries, D-Putnam, said he anticipated this year’s bill to follow that same threshold.
Jeffries said he wants to make sure minority owners are addressed in the legislation as well.
“We want to make sure they are going to receive what the majority does with rights as well and get their due process to take their concerns to the circuit judge to get that fair market value,” he said.
In an interview later Friday, House Speaker Tim Armstead said there are a few concerns about co-tenancy in the House. One is having a sufficient percentage of owners to agree to develop. …
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