By Kate Mishkin
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An amendment to a controversial oil and natural gas bill would’ve given money to the Public Employees Insurance Agency, but was rejected on a voice vote Friday afternoon.
Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, who’s been vocal about the need to increase teacher pay and benefits before and during the ongoing teacher strike, proposed an amendment to House Bill 4268, the so-called “co-tenancy bill” that would take 2.5 percent of the gross value of gas or oil produced on drilled land and give it to PEIA — “basically similar to a severance tax,” Ojeda said Friday afternoon.
The co-tenancy bill – on third reading in the Senate today – would allow natural gas and oil companies to drill with the majority, or 75 percent, of the land owners’ consent. An amendment passed on the House floor says 50 percent of unknown owners’ interests on the minerals drilled would go toward a PEIA Stability Fund, instead of entirely to the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund. …
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