CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In the final hour of the 2015 legislative session, the gas well mineral interest pooling bill, HB 2688, died on the House floor. It had been put on hold earlier in the day Saturday, March 14, as leadership realized support was waning.
It originally passed the House March 4, 60-40. The Senate passed an amended version early Saturday, 24-10, and sent it to the House, where it sat all day.
About 11 p.m., it came back to the floor, where it died in a 49-49 tie.
Bill sponsor Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, who pulled together representatives of the various interest groups — mineral owners, surface owners, industry — to craft the bill made one final attempt to persuade his colleagues to vote, but it didn’t work.
Afterward, he said, “I’m probably a little disappointed we didn’t get the thing through in the final vote. The sun will come up tomorrow and if it doesn’t, all this won’t much matter anyway.”
Asked if he’d try again for next session, he said, “We’ll see. We’ll take a look at what needs to be done and where changes need to be made and take it from there.”
He pointed out that the bill’s failure still leaves those who own royalty rights in the Utica shale unprotected from forced pooling …