By ANDREA LANNOM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Co-tenancy, which allows the development of oil and natural gas resources across adjoining properties as long as three-fourths of property owners agree, moved out of the House of Delegates Thursday by a 60-40 vote.
The bill also creates a fund to hold interests owned by unknown or unlocatable owners. If unclaimed after seven years, the property is transferred to the Oil and Gas reclamation Fund.
An amendment offered Wednesday by Delegate Phil Isner, D-Randolph, would split fund proceeds evenly between the reclamation of abandoned gas wells and the Public Employees Insurance Agency. Under the original version of the bill, money only went toward plugging of abandoned oil and gas wells.
During the 90-minute debate, Republicans said a minority of owners should not be able to have influence over the majority and argued the bill would spur economic development.
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