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West Virginia House of Delegates advances co-tenancy bill


The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — While the Legislature figures out longterm revenue sources to fund the Public Employees Insurance Agency plan for teachers and state workers, a Democratic delegate from Randolph County has a plan — and his amendment narrowly passed in a 49-47 House vote Wednesday.

Delegate Phil Isner’s amendment to House Bill 4268, a co-tenancy bill which would allow oil or natural gas development provided that three-fourths of the royalty owners of a piece of property agree, is up for passage Thursday.

The bill creates a fund known as the Unknown and Unlocatable Interests Owners Fund. Interests owned by unknown or unlocatable owners would be reserved and deposited in that created fund until they are either claimed or transferred to the Oil and Gas reclamation Fund, which, under the original version of the bill, would go toward plugging abandoned oil and gas wells.

Isner’s amendment sought to split proceeds from the Oil and Gas Reclamation Fund evenly between efforts to reclaim abandoned gas wells as well as the PEIA Stability Fund.

“For the last 36 days, everyone in this chamber talked about finding a way to fix PEIA,” Isner said. “The fund created by this bill would dedicate money to unknown and un-locatable owners.”

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