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WV Senate advances oil and natural gas drilling co-tenancy bill

The Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A controversial oil and gas bill passed the West Virginia Senate Saturday morning — the farthest a bill with similar goals has ever gotten.

House Bill 4268, or the so-called “co-tenancy” bill, passed 23-11 during a floor session, but not without more debate. On Friday, Senators debated for at least an hour over three amendments that didn’t pass.

The bill would allow natural gas and oil companies to drill on land with the consent of at least 75 percent of the owners. It’s a simpler iteration of similar bills introduced the last few years. Three years ago, the “forced pooling bill” died the last night of the session with a tied vote, and last year, the bill included a provision for “joint development.” That bill died on the House floor, where it originated this year.

Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made a point of addressing that this version of the bill had no provisions for forced pooling or joint development. “This bill is at its essence a property owners’ rights bill,” he said. …

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