For sale to the highest campaign contributors: West Virginia private property rights

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natural gas rig

Editor:

The West Virginia Senate and House leadership is offering citizen’s property rights for sale to the natural gas industry.

Terms of sale: Natural gas corporations must provide funds for political rhetoric whether it is true or false.

They must fund Super Pacs that only support conservative, corporate-biased candidates. (Nonpartisan judge positions are available).

These corporations need to promise voters a lot of jobs — even if they are temporary, subject to boom and bust cycles, and workers are recruited outside our borders.

As a bonus, the industry will have the benefit of weak environmental enforcement and a newly passed law allowing for more pollution in our rivers.

SB576 is the newest forced pooling bill. There are two parts to the bill, co-tenancy and joint development.

Throughout the bill, surface protections are removed, companies can pull in acreage without paying signing bonuses, the 1/8 royalty is subject to deductions and many other problems for West Virginia mineral and landowners are buried in the legal language.

Joint development is basically transferring private property to industry for larger profits. This would be mandated by law.

HB2688 gives the natural gas corporations unlimited access to private property for surveying. This allows the use of trucks and equipment of their choice on your land without your permission.

If you are a landowner who supports this bill, contact the industry and ask their legal department to prepare an easement that allows industry to trespass on your land at their free will.

The natural gas industry is using our elected representatives and our courts to bully and abuse our land and mineral owners. Did you vote for these people to give away your property rights?

West Virginia needs to use this resource to bring our state out of poverty and not to take citizen’s property and give those rights to corporations to make larger profits.

The industry has come up with deductions and fees to take the mandatory 12.5 percent (1/8) royalty down to a lower percentage and in some cases the mineral owner owes the company money for producing their minerals. Most West Virginia mineral owners will spend royalty money and pay taxes in West Virginia.

Call Senate and House leaders and ask them to oppose these bills. Property owners have the right to negotiate with the industry for what they feel benefits them and their land.

We do not need state government setting the terms for our private property!

We would like to thank WV Royalty Owners Organization, National Royalty Owners Association, WV Farm Bureau, WV Surface Owners Rights Organization, WV Land & Mineral, Sen. Romano and Sen. Facemire for their continued opposition to these bills and supporting the best interest of West Virginia.

If the industry would work on a bill that benefits all sides, and not biased to their interest only, then we would all be willing to work with them.

Give our state the opportunity to profit from this resource.

Bill and Priscilla Suan

Lost Creek, West Virginia

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