Who owns the mineral rights? The Ohio Supreme Court may decide


CALDWELL, Ohio — A fight over who owns the mineral rights under 42 acres of land in Noble County may be headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Jon Walker Jr. filed a lawsuit against John R. Noon in 2012 in an attempt to get the mineral rights to the property. Walker owns the surface rights.


According to court records, Noon purchased the property in 1964 and severed the mineral rights from the surface rights when he sold the property in 1965. In 1970, the property changed hands two more times.

Then, in 2009, Walker purchased the property. In December 2011, Walker sent a notice of abandonment of mineral interest to Noon.
But in January 2012, Noon filed an affidavit and laid claim to preserve his mineral interest.

In April 2012, Walked filed a complaint for judgment. He requested the trial court rule that he is the lawful owner of the mineral rights.
Walker claimed in the court records that the mineral rights merged with the surface rights in 1992 by the way of the 1989 Ohio Dormant

Mineral Act

He claimed Noon abandoned his interest in the mineral rights when he failed to stop them from expiring.

Meanwhile, Noon filed a mineral preservation notice with the court in the spring of 2012.

The Noble County Court found that Walker did own the rights and denied Noon’s motion to keep his mineral rights.

Court of Appeals

Noon then filed an appeal with the Seventh District Court of Appeals in April 2013. Noon died after filing the appeal. His daughter, Patricia Shondrick-Nau, was substituted in the case since she is the executor of Noon’s estate.

The issues in the case revolve around the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Minerals Act and the 2006 version of the same law. This is the first case to go to court over how the acts intersect and what it means to the surface owner and the mineral rights owner.

The Seventh District Court of Appeals ruled April 3 that Walker does own the mineral rights since Noon reportedly didn’t develop them since 1964.

Ohio Dormant Minerals Act

The Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act, which is part of the Ohio state law, provides a surface owner with the opportunity to gain title to previously severed mineral rights if those rights have not been “used” during a specific 20-year time period.

The 2006 version of the Ohio Dormant Minerals Act specifically applies to any mineral interest, defined as a “fee interest in at least one mineral regardless of how the interest is created and of the form of the interest, which may be absolute or fractional or divided or undivided.”

The 1989 version of the statute did not define the interests subject to abandonment.

The 1989 version of the Dormant Minerals Act has been described as a “use it or lose it” statute: if the mineral-interest owners did not “use” their mineral interests during a 20-year time period, they automatically vested in the surface owner.

The 2006 version of the Dormant Minerals Act says the surface owner must adhere to a multi-step process to accomplish the merging of the surface and mineral interests. The surface owner must confirm that the oil and gas mineral interests have not been used within the previous 20 years.

Then the surface owner must “serve notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each holder or each holder’s successors or assignees, at the last known address of each, of the owner’s intent to declare the mineral interest abandoned.”

If certified mail notice is not possible, the surface owner must publish notice at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the land is located.

The surface owner must also confirm that one of the mineral interest holders has not recorded documents within 60 days of service or publication of the notice laying claim to the mineral rights.

Then the surface rights owner must file an affidavit of abandonment in the county recorder’s office between 30 and 60 days after the published notice date.

Ohio Supreme Court

Patricia Shondrick-Nau has appealed the Seventh District Court of Appeals decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, according to her attorney, Matthew Warnock, of Bricker & Eckler, Columbus.

Warnock said it is unknown if the Ohio Supreme Court will hear the case.

Walker’s attorney has 30 days from May 16 to file a memorandum in response to the filing. If Walker files a response, the Ohio Supreme

Court will then take two to four months to decide if it will consider the appeal.

However, Chesapeake Exploration has filed a friend of the court brief, asking for the Supreme Court to look into the case because it will impact so many landowners.

In addition, the federal court in Columbus has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to examine the issues in the case because justices are waiting to make a decision in a separate, unrelated federal case, based on the Ohio court’s decision.

The case is gaining interest because the decision could impact so many landowners since the Seventh District Court of Appeals covers Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, Mahoning, Monroe and Noble counties, which are all involved in shale exploration.

Decision stands

If the Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear the case, then the mineral rights will be remanded to Walker as was ruled in the Seventh District Court of Appeals.

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  1. Land owners pay the taxes for ever and ever and these Johnny come lately’s come around, NUT’S with them I feel it’s just and fair land owners get the rights they usually live on the land and pay the Taxes on it, Justice should not let others rule over them or run all over them period!

      • Yah what U pay a buck an acre and then never payed any land taxes this stupid kinda of stuff should have never been allowed to happen a law should be past at least in Ohio that if U own the land and are paying the taxes all the rights go with it too no matter what and U don’t want to loose the rights don’t sell the land Period!

      • And just how much money have you made on them and how much real-estate taxes have you paid? If any, I willing to bet it is a fraction of what the surface owner has paid.

    • Our family does not own the land anymore but we do own the mineral rights and we have always paid taxes on that,the land owner should have made sure upon buying his porperty that he owned land and the mineral rights,no we have always paid our share

      • You haven’t kept up the land and what taxes – you just want to get rich quick. The land owner should have all rights including what is beneath his surface. you didn’t want the land so why should you reap the benefits. The owner wants the land and is taking care of the land, we farm it, grow crops, and feed animals that feed you – so why should we give up our benefits because you think you own something underneath all of this. This law needs to go to the land owners. I am tired of people coming saying my great grand pappy owned this and I want something now.

    • John Walker has worked tirelessly in an effort to reclaim what belongs to him. Not only has it cost him time spent away from his business and family, but legal fees that continue to pile on each time there is an appeal filed by those holding the mineral rights.
      We have land in the same vicinity as Mr. Walker, so we have a vested interest in the case. We have owned our home for 19 years this December. We have been married almost 38 years, but weren’t able to afford a home untl we had been married almost 20 years. We married young, and had children right away. Like many in similar circumstances, we rented a house for those 20 years, ironically, from a coal company that had purchased land to strip for coal. Coal, back in the day, was the hot commodity.
      We fixed up an old farmhouse that didn’t belong to us and made it a “home” for our children. But when the opportunity presented itself to purchase an A Frame cabin on an acre of land, with thirty-one acres of land ajoining, we were elated. We were finally going to fulfill our dream of becoming homeowners.
      We knew the mineral rights had been purchased years before along with most of the property in our area. We were disappointed, but at that time weren’t aware of any loopholes that would allow us to reclaim what was lying beneath the land for which we had just signed away 30 years of our life.
      Just a quick FYI, the house was in bankruptcy court, so it was not a matter of loving the house, getting a loan for the house, closing and moving in. It was a stressful cat and mouse year and a half a bidding war with another buyer for a “may the best man win” so the court could get some of their money back. We ended up paying ten grand more for the house we live in than it was initially priced at to start at Sheriff’s auction. WE had to pay ALL the back taxes, and there were A LOT. WE paid all court costs and had lots of red tape to free up the house of our dreams.
      Why am I blathering on about this? Because it all ties in and matters. We have paid our dues and done the time. We just want what we already sit on everyday and pay taxes on.
      According to the 1989 Ohio Dormant Mineral Act my husband and I have every reason in the world to have hope that what John Walker has been fighting for can come to fruition.
      And yes, we want to get in on the gas and oil gravy train. Who wouldn’t? Do I want to pay off my house and replace my eleven year old Honda? Sure. Would I like to help my three grown children and their children when they need it, should there be something substantial? You bet.
      My husband and I will work until we can’t work anymore. But, we both have chronic health conditions, and if you have your mortgage paid, what a burden that takes from a budget.
      So best of luck John Walker. You know we are in your corner. I hope we are celebrating soon around a bonfire.

      • Hi!
        Just a reminder that the Ohio Supreme Court hears the case June 23. Be sure to check back here to see what happens in that hearing. There won’t be a decision for awhile but we’ll at least fill you in on the arguments presented to the court by lawyers.

      • Funny how a house/farm can go into foreclosure but the mineral owner is not affected in the least. When the surface goes into foreclosure and the taxes are not paid, why aren’t the mineral owners required to pay at least a portion of the taxes to maintain their mineral rights. In fact, it is to their benefit not to have anyone own the surface, Now they don’t have to pay the 1/8 royalty to the land owner. What a rip off, not only to the land owners but to the county who is getting nothing in real-estate taxes for what is under the ground. Hopefully the Ohio Supreme court will see how unjust the current laws are and fix them with a right decision.

  2. I also feel this 2006 version of the abandonment law was just made up so all these Lawyers could get a big peice of the pie and it’s just messing things up!

  3. Why not make it like coal mining, which seemed to strike a balance between the surface owner and the severed coal owner ?
    The current surface owner would get 1/3rd of the royalties (but no right to lease or to deny or to object to a lease by the oil and gas owner)
    The surface owner would also get 100% of the damages to the surface / crops / timber
    and the oil and gas owner has 100% right to lease and would get 2/3rds of the royalties.
    as for the lease bonus payment, who knows?
    It used to be only a couple of Dollars per acre
    At least for now, it is much much more
    If a landowner wants to retire and sell his farm to someone else (a non-family member, or “stranger”), and keep the oil and gas for himself and his heirs, why should the retiring farmer be forced to deed the oil and gas and all future revenue to the stranger?
    On the other hand, why should the current surface owner get absolutely nothing ?

  4. Why does anyone think it is fair that the surface owner should not own the mineral rights. Most of these rights were sold off many years ago for virtually nothing and made the, in most cases, unscrupulous leaser rich. Most of these lease are now held by paying the land owner virtually nothing every month or supplying a small amount of natural gas. They than turn around and sell these leases to big oil companies and receive large signing bonuses. These bonuses should go to the owner of the land not the mineral owner or at least shared by both. The taxes on the land are paid by the surface owners but the benefits all seem to favor the mineral owner. As far as people who want to retain the mineral rights but sell the property, than it should be deeded that way and the taxes should be paid by both them and the surface owner.

    • I agree it’s time the little people (land owners) won one for a change instead of some ancient gamblers that ripped off poor hungry beggers for a buck an acre then to get super rich why’ll the land owner payed the taxes, what stupid stuff that was should have never been allowed to happen

      • I agree with Ironfarmer all the way. You see the truth and say it. The so called mineral owners deserve nothing and the taxes they pay are just a pretense to make it look like they have a right to something that clearly belongs to the rightful land owner, called the surface owner. A terrible injustice has been done and I dare any so called upstanding mineral owner to explain, not why it is legal, because I know that, but why it is fair and just for their ilk to have such total power over and to profit from the property of the rightful land owner. It can not be done but I would enjoy reading their weak self-interested reasoning.

  5. Exactly, these leases should not be able to be sold off by the mineral owners. They should revert back to the surface owners when these wells are played out. What happened to the law that only allowed these oil guys to tie up 20 acres for a producing well. We have 3 wells 2 producing virtually nothing and one producing nothing. But the mineral holder is able to tie up 130 acres and than sell it off to big oil for a fortune.

  6. So… Let me get this straight: “Party A” sold his mineral rights to “Party B” 100 years ago. NOW Party A wants his stuff back… Huh?? Are you kidding me? You call that justice? How do you know that “Party A” wasn’t ripping off “Party B” in the deal? How in the world do you have any justice if you come back years later and just rip-off someone’s duly-purchased stuff? I hope the Supremes take this case and settle honest property rights once and for all. And don’t try to play the “poor” card. We are just poor folks ourselves, and we never abandoned our rights, just because we didn’t drill soon enough for your tastes.

    • Yes, the person that owned the land many many years ago and left it abandoned is now wanting his rights in minerals. We filed the correct paper work with the courts for abandonment and he wants his money for mineral rights – its not right. Everyone is poor in this area, if you didn’t want the land why would that give you any right to have anything else. the land was foreclosed on, and they didn’t want anything to do with this – we paid the back taxes and cleared the title on the land with the bank, why would they have any rights to minerals, they were not there 20 years ago and now that they are they want them. Not right!

    • Yes, whether the rights were willingly sold or reserved, whether ancient or recently, we, the rightful land owners, called the surface owners, want our mineral rights back from the so called mineral owners. The only want the so called mineral owner can have these so called rights is by depriving me, the rightful landowner, of my very real rights. The holders of these so called mineral rights are nothing more than speculators, paying a few dollars a year in taxes for the chance to one day sign an oil and gas lease, upon which they will get paid $100 or $1,000, or however much, per acre, of my property. And then, though these so called mineral owners don’t even have the right to set foot on my property, they have given some oil and gas company the right to come on my property and do anything they want without even notifying me in advance or consulting with me, and I get no money, and I bear all the risk of having a hazardous industrial operation on my land, and the so called mineral rights owner and the oil and gas outfit get the money. Hmm. What’s wrong with this picture. The so called mineral owner is getting rich and the oil and gas outfit is getting rich, but I am bearing the very real burden and risks of their property, which includes, in addition to the fact it’s ugly and sin and all of this is against my will, the fact that it can poison my well water and the air and the soil with hazardous cancer-causing toxins. What’s more, there is incredible liability and risk to these operations, such as accidents, toxic spills, blow outs, fires, deaths, workers coming on your property that may be drinking or using drugs or carrying weapons. In fact, the risk is so high that the oil and gas company that it can’t even insure against all the things that can go wrong. If I had a mortgage on my property, and if I owned minerals and surface, and had agreed to this, the bank would be able to call in the loan because it doesn’t want to take the risk of owning a property with an industrial business on it. If I had agreed to this, my homeowners’ insurance could cancel my policy because they are not in the business of covering industrial operations. That’s how much risk the rightful landowner, called the surface owner, is being forced to bear so that the so called mineral owners, who paid just enough taxes to whine about paying taxes, can get rich. The mineral owners pay next to nothing and risk absolutely nothing. Why should we, the surface owners, agree to this? We shouldn’t.

      • What taxes are they paying. They sure as hell aren’t paying any of my property taxes. The only taxes they are paying are income taxes. That’s because they are making INCOME off my property!!

    • The mineral owners aren’t being deprived of anything except their childish wrongheaded greedy beliefs they are somehow entitled to have control of over the surface owners’ life and land. We, the surface owners, would just be getting back what belongs to us. The mineral owners bought land that had the full package of rights, and that can’t be changed under the law. The nature of the benefits that go with the land can’t be changed. Individuals do not and should not have the power to create split estates because they only do it by depriving the subsequent land owners of their rights. When the mineral owner bought the land, they received the minerals, and under the fee simple and the inherent nature of how the land was patented, they should have to pass it on to the next owner, the way they received it. For example, at Marshall University in Huntington, there is a copy of the Savage Grant. King George granted 28,000 acres of land to John Savage for service in the Indian Wars around 1750 or so. That area is now parts of Huntington, W,Va., and Wayne County. That land came with the mineral rights, and that’s the nature of how it should always be. The king granted the land and the mineral rights and when it passed into private property and was sold and divided up, it retained its same nature until desperate people and greedy speculators met and began selling off the mineral rights as if they had the authority to do so, which I maintain they don’t because it creates a conflict in the future like what we’re seeing now. Most of the development of mineral was over by around the mid-1950s when conventional wells were drilled, and the mineral rights have lain fallow because the minerals were too deep to drill. But in that time, the technology to get at them was developed, and now the speculators are in business again, wanting to cash in and get rich quick on what I believe was an antiquated illegal private taking, and having the gall to do it at the surface owners’ expense like we owe you anything.
      The common law has allowed this inequity to take place, the same way it allowed slavery. Slavery was upheld by the common law and the courts for years, and then one day, everything changed, and it was illegal. This is the same thing. The mineral owner is depriving the surface owner of their rights, and I believe people are waking up to this because fracking is so dangerous that it can’t be ignored. I wouldn’t have one of those fracking outfits on my property in a million years though if others of you would, that’s your choice. But with split estate, I don’t have a choice. Well, I do. I have the choice to oppose it in court, in the court of public opinion and through civil disobedience. My land is leased, and I don’t think it’s in any danger of being drilled, because my oil and gas overlord is drilling in Pennsylvania and Texas. But if they do come to drill, I won’t go quiet. I would take steps with the law, and I would also take steps to block my road and my property from the trucks, so that they would have to get past a barrier to drill. And I would have no problem doing it, or rather arranging for my cousin or uncle to do it for me. After all, it’s my property!
      The mineral rights people gambled that the law would always be on their side, and they could always steal our property, but we here on this board are evidence the tide is turning. After all, they say we deserve this because we bought land without mineral rights, but when there is a large enough shift in public sentiment, we can easily turn the tables. They bought minerals without any land, and they knew it didn’t have any land. So don’t go crying about it when we get it back, and don’t go crying that it’s real property and someone deserves to pay you for it. No, you were speculating, trying to get rich quick at our expense, and you took a risk, and the taxpayers and land owners aren’t obligated to guarantee you a profit. So come and and answer me back, and don’t just whine about how you have to pay $6 in taxes a year for 100 years for the chance to make $100 or $1,000 or $3,000 an acre, easily enough to quickly recoup all the expensive so-called taxes you’ve paid, and much much more in royalties and other money on someone else’s land. In other words, for the price of 600 medium diet cokes spaced out over 100 years, you have a shot at an incredible deal with absolutely no risk, none. What about this, why don’t you contact your surface owner and see if they will buy them back for you for the price of the taxes you’ve paid all these years? How about that? What’s stopping you from doing that? Then you won’t have to whine about your misfortune keeping up these burdensome mineral rights that might just one day make you a millionaire. Please reply back mineral rights owners of Ohio. I can’t wait to see how you fool yourselves into believing you are honest, deserving people.

    • Soon enough is an interesting phrase, considering you’ve had the mineral rights for 40 to 100 years. Also, considering that you are probably the second or third generation to “own” them, and considering you probably own just a fraction of them, maybe one-fifth or one-sixth or far less, and if all of you were to own them and split them up, the $15 a year you pay in “taxes” would really be split between all the heirs, and all of you would just pay a couple of dollars a year for the chance to win a fortune. Why should your fraction of an interest from 50 years ago trump my 100 percent real-life ownership of the real thing. For most things, possession is nine-tenths the law, and the surface owner has 100 percent possession, but since the mineral owner doesn’t actually possess anything except a piece of paper, the law has to be heavy handed and make the minerals dominant over the surface. That makes no sense at all, but that’s the only way you can “own” anything. The law can’t even allow us to have a say in whether minerals are developed on our property because if it did, we would say no, and then the mineral owner would once again have nothing. Or we would would dictate how much we wanted, half or more at least, and how we wanted to do it, and once again, the mineral owner would be at a disadvantage, because you would either do it our way and give us as much money as we wanted, or we would send you packing with nothing but a piece of paper to keep paying taxes on in the hopes that we might one day sell our property to someone else and maybe that person would say yes to you or your heirs. But the law can’t begin to give the surface owners these concessions because once it does, it’s all over for the mineral owners. If we had any say, the oil and gas outfit would realize it’s easier to deal with the people who own minerals and surface, and they would quit dealing with mineral rights owners because then they would have to deal with surface and minerals and pay the two owners, and then once again, you guys would be out of luck. And, actually, we would want more than half because we would have to live with the ’round the clock drilling and noise, and we may even have to sell our property and move, and so we would want 75 percent or more for all that we would have to endure. Do you see how little it is that you really have and that it’s only the current law that allows your ownership? Do you see that laws can be changed?

  7. I agree with the land owner – we own the land and pay the taxes on it and keep up the land, we are getting ready to go to court on the same scenario and these people came out of the woodwork and say they own the minerals when we filed for them through the abandon act. If you own the land you should own the mineral rights. We bought the land on a foreclosure plus paid back taxes – and now these people think they own the rights. What is fair about this???

    • Why didn’t the mineral interest owner step up to pay the taxes. They just want to collect the royalty money and let the surface owner pay the taxes or new owners pay the back taxes. I bet they won’t be sending the new owners (surface) their 1/8, with out a court battle.

  8. so totally agree with Auggie. Why should mineral rights owners have the right to sign with a company saying they can come on your land and drill or survey the land while you have crops or farm animals and/or hunting. What gives them that right?

  9. If the person buying the land when the mineral reservation took place wasn’t worried about the minerals, why the concern now? Buying land is a simple deal. If you are worried about drilling operations taking place on the surface, don’t buy the land if the minerals don’t come with it. If the current seller is the mineral owner and won’t convey the minerals, have a no surface operations provision placed in the deed and you won’t have to worry about your lands being drilled on. You can also walk away from the deal and find another tract of land where the seller is willing to convey either a portion or all of the minerals.

    With that being said, I support the Dormant Mineral Act. It’ll allow the mineral owners that know they own the minerals to file a document within the 20 year time frame to secure their interests. Meanwhile, all of the mineral reservations in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, where the heirs aren’t aware that they own these minerals, will revert back to the current surface owner.

    • Yes Bobby that is the way it should work. Currently, if you file an abandonment claim in the paper and one or more of these unaware decedents see it, they can file a non abandonment claim and be entitled to the mineral rights. That is what the Ohio Supreme court is trying to sort out right now.

  10. we have own are property for 27 years 100 years ago the land owner reserved minerals rights and timber rights .recently a guy pulls in my driveway and tells me he owns my timber. see you court.

  11. I agree – what is right about this – someone comes lurking out of the blue – geez my father owned a house many years ago – maybe I should go claim those mineral rights. its not right what people are doing to the land owners.

  12. You don’t own the land – you shouldn’t have the rights to the underground – you haven’t paid a dime on the taxes of that land – why should you benefit because you great great grand pappy owned it – they sold it and wanted it gone. The Ohio Supreme Court needs to see the landowners side – not the people lurking to get rich quick.

    • The bad news is, that those guys that want to get rich quick are more often than not already rich and lobbying in the supreme court to blow the guy that wont let that law be passed. The other side of the problem is that if you want to by land around here (NE OH) you cant find any decent size of land that acutally has mineral rights nor will those who “own” the mineral rights be willing to sell them, but then again why would they? If they can make a quick million without paying for a thing as far as taxes go then why not?

      • I agree with the statement regarding many of those having purchased large parcels of land years ago already “walking on high cotton”. And if the original purchaser is no longer alive, I know at least in our area, the heirs of these “land barons” are not hurting for money. I realize everyone should get what is coming to them, but the tax issue is really a thorn in my side. If you think you OWN my minerals than you sure as heck better cough up part of the money in February and July when Real estate taxes come due. You can’t just hire high profile law firms and file appeals to ride the gravy train unless you compensate ME for paying your percentage of taxes on those mineral rights you are hanging onto for dear life. How can you sort that all out and still call it fair? How?

  13. At least Ohio HAS a Domant Minerals Act. Most states, like Arkansas, do not. We purchased property on which an owner in 1961 severed and retained half of the mineral rights when he sold the property. The property has changed hands 6 or 8 times since then. We found a record on Ancestry.com that the previous owner (of 1/2 of the mineral rights) was deceased. We recently tried to locate currenty 1/2 mineral owners (the heirs of this person) and found there is no way to do it because taxes are not collected on mineral rights, There was an oil and gas lease on the property for several years in the 70s, of which nothing ever transpired, and nothing since. It probably wouldn’t make any difference except that we were recently turned down for a refinance on our mortgage because we only owned half of the mineral rights. We figured we could purchase the other half of our mineral rights from the current owner, but there is no way to even find out who that is. So yes, Arkansas needs a law like Ohio.

    Would like to know how the lawsuit in Ohio turned out? Does anyone know?

  14. Our law suit is similar to the one heard by the Ohio Supreme court. have not heard anything from our attorneys. They felt the court may want to hear other dormant mineral suits on the docket before making any kind of ruling. If oil goes any lower, it may not make any difference. Not much interest in drilling right now but who knows what the future will bring.

  15. I know I have been hearing stories of this gas and oil boom being on it’s way out . . but I am not sure if that is the case.
    I spoke with a gentleman yesterday who works with one of the “high end” gas and oil companies in our SE Ohio area, and he said it can only get bigger . . scary big. He is from Barnesville, OH and he said the company he spoke of will be all over the map. He said it is now oil that is the big commodity and it is not drying up anytime soon. They are working the people in the company he works for 100 hours a week, and giving them three MILLION dollar a year bonuses. Something is producing at a consistent rate for that kind of money to be thrown around to the oil field personnel.
    I hope this case can be settled soon. It;s just waiting for the other shoe to drop that is frustrating. It will be extremely disappointing to be defeated. I will tell you this, should the ruling go in favor of the mineral owners, I will be sending a copy of our real estate taxes to the mineral owner who has been filing all the appeals each and every February and July.
    With ownership comes responsibility.

    • Let me assure you that that kind of money isn’t being paid anywhere in the Oil and Gas business to employees, especially right now. In case you haven’t heard, right now there is a major down time for the Oil and Gas industry and a very large percentage of these workers are unemployed at this time. If there are 3 million dollar annual bonuses being handed out to employees or contractors, people would be coming from all over the U.S. looking for work. Besides, the average oil field salary is probably around $100,000 a year. Do you honestly think that these people would be paid 30 times their salary in bonuses when all the company would have to do is hire the unemployed guys that are willing to work for at lot less money?

      By the way, even in the best of the booms, only the people at the top of the chain are receiving bonuses anywhere near this amount. The other 99% are seeing bonuses in the 4 figure or low 5 figure range.

  16. Maybe the Trump can fix it? 2006 changes must have been lobbied? I say if these judges don’t help Land(tax paying)owners vote them all out? what gets me 1989 says rights go to the Land owner automatically without notice so that should be a grandfather in timing right there 2006 is after the fact and I don’t think the flux capacitor is really invented yet?

  17. I’m not too concerned about this gas/oil stuff anyway because I truly think time for the Christians is short on this big dirt ball because Jesus Christ return I’d say is not too far off so all this will get straightened out in less than a blink of an eye and all will fairly and righteously get what they deserve may all wake up and pray and draw closer to the One and Only Lord and Savior for people of this earth? from Adam and Eve?til present

  18. One more comment that poor Ohio needs to read especially the Judges. I believe if the Landowners can win one for once the wealth that’s created for landowners will for the most part stay in Ohio and will help a lot for the counties and the state too, rather than a lot of out of state companies or rights holders that probably have never even set a foot on lands they are trying to lay claim too. We Our the people that live here today now in the present our communities need better everything, tax base, Police, schools etc. You name it! I’m tired of just a few getting it all why’ll the rest get to pay the bills and do the bleeding and dying?

    • Ironfarmer: I so agree with you. start flooding our congressman with emails – go to Ohio State gov and start them NOW. WE must get this across to them that the landowners want their land and mineral rights back. http://www.governor.ohio.gov
      press contact and send emails Please everyone do this – it only takes 5 minutes!!

      • I like Auggie’s comment about how the surface owners are paying the property taxes, and the mineral owners are paying the income taxes gained from the surface owners’ property. I laughed at the clever way that was put.
        As for My Land, yes! I wrote and printed out on paper four letters and put them in envelopes and mailed them to my state legislators in WV. I read some advice on Lifehacker.com about how to get our politicians to pay attention to us. And Lifehacker, a term for someone who knows how to do something effectively, said that politicians still value letters and paper petitions because they may sometimes be suspicious of email as being too easy for citizens to make it look like there is a lot of support for something when there’s not. I don’t know if I believe that, but I’m not taking any chances. Also, I’ve been doing some research, and there is a long, long history of citizens being run over by mineral rights owners. I believe, if we can get this going, there will be thousands of people who can identify out here, back East, as well as out West, where there is lots of mining. It is only going to get worse with the wind estate and the water restate being reserved or sold, and then there will be four people with rights to our property (mineral, timber, water and wind), and we will be fifth in line with our rights. In West Virginia, Cabot Oil and gas paid in 2015 about $666 for mineral rights on 6,100 mineral acres.That’s about 10 cents an acres. Also, what I was saying about the house at 1992 Oxford Road in West Union, WV, with the ruined water. I finally got a hold of the listing agent, and the house is, indeed using a water buffalo for its ruined well water. I thought so, but I wanted to make sure. Write your legislator on the state level, not your congressional representatives, and ask them to change the law to make split estates illegal.

  19. No, Ironfarmer, I’m not waiting around for Jesus. If you want to pray to Jesus to give you the will to act, that’s fine, but in the meantime, we need to save ourselves. We need to take action and gather with like-minded rightful landowners to get our mineral rights back from the so called mineral owners. I just printed off a form from the web site of the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Group and mailed them a check for $30 for a one-year membership. They have members from all over the country, not just West Virginia.

      • Ironfarmer, I know they have members from all over, and I think they’re pretty much swamped just trying to handle the West Virginia cases of being smashed over the head with various fracking operation, water pipelines to suck free water from the Ohio, and gas line operations. There is no end, but, oddly enough, Ohio is way ahead of WV in the issue of surface owners’ rights. You all at least have a law on the books that allows minerals to be extinguished. We don’t even have that. The mineral rights can be sold for nonpayment of taxes, but that just puts your property in the hands of another yahoo. There is nothing to end this in West Virginia. Another thought is for you to search for an Ohio group of environmentalists and to join them and start working with them. The time may be short. None of us knows. But we might as well have some fun in our short time here trying to thwart and vex the powers that be.

      • The saying is “he who has the gold rules” at least maybe most of the time right or wrong in this sad fallen temporary world unfortunately, but even if greedy wrong win out in this world it’s just for a little while and more than likely will be the only heaven they ever know just sad. There is a story of a man that turned all his wealth into gold coins and sewed them into his burial suit and after he died and was up in Heavan he pulled the gold coins out of his suit and a passing angel ask him what he was doing with them pieces of pavement?

  20. Would like to ask a question if anyone feels like answering: We’re new to this exchange and only want to hear your thoughts. Some of us have “mineral rights” and “surface rights” on different properties, and have BOTH sides of this argument in different areas with different people, different circumstances, etc., so we appreciate the concerns of both sides. And BOTH seem to have some kind of valid interest (no legal expert here!), so what is a ‘fair’ resolution for BOTH sides? Is there such a thing? Or is it just a “WE-win-and-YOU-lose” type of proposition? We know folks who have scored really big, and some who didn’t. Bottom line: Is there a compromise, a “Solomonic Decision” that makes legal, moral, & ethical sense? (King Solomon threatened to divide a baby in half… c’mon, you remember… 1 Kings 3:16-28.) Just wondering folks. Thanks for your input.

    • My family are and have been on both sides of this issue in the past like a hundred years ago and in the present even with both the rights and land they are always trying to rip you off it seems most of the time, these judges really need to start working for the land owners that really own and pay the taxes that pay them on the lands they all usually are living on in the communities that need that tax base for Police Schools etc. I have people that are from Florida that where making claims on my land from some ancient deal claiming that they was caregivers to a man that has been dead for years I mean it’s a stretch I bet they have never even seen or set foot on the property in their life and probably didn’t even know what was going on til some lawyer connected a long string of dots and more than likely sought them out so now if they would win do you think any of the wealth they might see ever will be taxed or spent in Ohio? Probably NOT its time Ohioians start taking care of Ohio and the people that actually live life here!

      • It would be like a free farm, or free property for them, and then they would probably just sell it, so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes, and then they would take their ill-gotten gains and head back to Florida. I hope that doesn’t happen to you.

  21. I have discussed this Bible story with my sister in relation to this situation, and I will weigh in on the topic, but first, let’s review. In the Bible story, a woman had a nice plump little infant that was almost a toddler, and another woman stole her baby. The mother went before King Solomon and asked for her baby back. I’m assuming he asked both women to tell their story because I’m just going from a long ago memory here. After he had listened to both sides, in which each woman explained why she was the legitimate mother, King Solomon made his decision. He said the baby would be split down the middle, and each woman would get half. In the Bible we had growing up, I seem to remember a soldier dangling a baby boy by one heel with his sword over his shoulder ready to bring it down and split the baby beginning at the crotch. When the real mother heard the verdict, she began to scream and cry and tear out her hair, and she told King Solomon that wouldn’t be necessary. She would relinquish her claim, and the other woman could have the baby. After she spoke, King Solomon said that he had his answer. The true mother of the baby was the one who cared about the baby and didn’t want it to die, and so he gave the baby to the rightful mother.
    So far as I am concerned, the land is my baby, and I want to nurture and protect it, but I was brought up by a father who loved the land and loved animals. When we were growing up, my dad saved injured baby rabbits and possums and brought them home to us. He didn’t hunt on our property, and he captured spiders and field mice and wasps and put them outside. He stopped the car and made us get terrapins out of the road and cross them to the other side. He loved bird watching, and my high school biology teacher once described my dad as an amateur ornithologist, and if his family had had the means and any opportunity would have been available to him, he would have been an ornithologist. But instead, he was just the backward son of an alcoholic sawyer, meaning operator of a sawmill, who beat him until he was of the age he could threaten to fight back.
    And so, the thought of having the mineral owner, some city slicker from Akron whose grandmother sold their WV property in 1948, and whose father was one of five heirs, and from what I can tell didn’t live on our property very long because by the age of 15 he was in Akron, and he had been born near New Martinsville, which is far away from our property and near Ohio, and so to have them deciding it’s OK to drill on our property is a double assault. One, it’s getting money from our land, and two, it’s doing something to our land that I am morally opposed to and would never chose to do myself. For me, this issue is about the ability to say no, and to kick those interlopers off our land.
    Now for a surface owner who was raised with different values about land and nature, they might be more accepting of it, and their main concern would simply be money. Then you might be able to work out some kind of a fairer split, though as I have said on here before, half is not a fair split because the property owner is the one sustaining the inconveniences and the damages, so I’d right off the top of my head that a fair split would be 25 percent mineral owner/75 surface, and even that, in my opinion, is way more than any mineral owner deserves. So let’s say you work out what you call a win-win situation for the mineral owner and the surface owner who would together enter into an oil and gas lease that had been vetted by an experienced attorney with all the protections and provisions the land owner would need to enter into such an agreement. Well, the two of you could make money, but in the process, you could damage the property of your neighbors, who don’t have a contract and aren’t making a single cent. For example, and I have seen this first hand, in Doddridge County, WV, which has been a hotbed of Marcellus shale drilling for about the past three years, the company Antero leased property from a family named Primm. Antero drilled a well on the huge multi-acre concrete pad known as the Primm pad, meaning the well pad owned by the Primm’s. Well, they had some kind of accident last fall (2014), and Antero hit another older well that had been on the property, and somehow that messed up the well water of their neighbors and resulted in a violation by the WV DEP. I took a tour with an environmental group to see first-hand what all this was about and what it really looked like, and we drove past the huge Primm pad, high up on a hill, and then we drove on down the creek a ways and we saw all of Primm’s neighbors, who had water buffalos in their yard. A water buffalo is a big container of water that sits outside the house and provides water if your well water is undrinkable. The ones we saw had a flat botton that sat on the ground, and then it was a kind of dome shaped container, and they all had tan covers that covered the entire thing, like you would use to protect a vehicle. We drove down Oxford Road where the Primm drilling was taking place, and we saw several houses with these water buffalos. Then eventually, we came to one house on the right, and we turned around. It was a beautiful house with a water buffalo on the right side toward the back of the lot, and a For Sale sign in the front yard toward the front of the lot near the road. These people might not ever get their water back fro the entire life of their property, which will last longer than they will. And this is the country, and there’s no city water nearby. I am not aware of the Primm’s neighbors suing Antero or the Primms, but they should sue them both. The Primms took a risk that damaged the drinking water, and if their neighbors were smart, they’d just sue the Primms, and then that would begin to reflect the true cost of the drilling. The Primms, who also lost their well water, are at least making money off the deal, but the many neighbors they harmed are not. If you would like to see the property, look up Doddridge County, WV, real estate, and you should get a site like zillow.com. Sroll through the local listings until you find 1992 Oxford Road, West Union, WV, 26456. They are asking $199,000, and they have 20 photos showing all the nifty features and updates, but they don’t mention that they don’t have water, and they don’t show the water buffalo in nary a photo. And the property has been on the market for 446, which is the same as saying it’s been on the market for one year and 81 days, which means they put their property up for sale around last July, which is about when the accident must have occurred. Feel free to go to the web site and to call the real estate agent if you don’t believe me, 304-566-9897.
    Back to the story of King Solomon, what I get out of it is this. If you have a dispute over two people arguing that they’re both owners, take it to the law. Then, if the judge makes the wrong decision, which King Solomon did knowingly as a way to the truth, then you will just have to make a personal decision based on your own morality. But it’s funny how the story of the split baby plays out in the situation of fracking. The mineral owner wants to split the baby in two because the mineral owner cares nothing for the baby, but the true mother, the surface owner, loves the baby, loves the land, has built a house there, raised a family there, a garden there, maybe a farm in some areas, maybe they have horses or cattle or what have you, but many of the surface owners love the land like my father taught all three of his children to love it, and many surface owners don’t want their property drilled on. Even if they had the mineral rights to it, they wouldn’t exercise those options.
    And so what I get from the Bible story for we surface owners is this. One, go to court. Two, if the judge sides against you, and probably he will, things being what they are and this issue just beginning to gain traction and many people still needing to be educated on how split estate is flat-out wrong, but if the judge sides against you, and you really want to save your baby, you’re going to have to go the route of civil disobedience (protesters on your property blocking the oil and gas company, other blocks, media coverage, braving the state police who will threaten you and haul you off to jail for being on your own property) if you hope to get your baby from being split asunder. The mother in the Bible had to let another woman have her baby to let it live, but we have to keep our baby out of the impostor’s hands if we want it to live so the earth can be a lovely place where we all can live and have clean water to drink. So I have answered as best I could. You tell me if there is some simple win-win scenario I have overlooked.

  22. Sorry, Ironfarmer, we’re on the same side, and I like your posts, but I am not buying any of that religious meek-shall-inherit-the-earth crap. I have no problems with anyone’s belief or disbelief in a higher power, but I often see people quoting that crap so that they can convince themselves they don’t have to do anything in this world. Instead of owning their personal power and trying to change things, they moan and groan about how bad this world is and how it will all be better in the next. I feel powerless in this situation. Many of us do. But let’s all feel powerless together and see if we can covert our powerlessness to power. Those of born and bred in Appalachia often have been raised with a sort of fatalism and learned helplessness, and these Bible verses and such just support that. It ain’t just you and me, mister, who feel bad and mad and sad and helpless about what’s happening to our land. This is happening all over, it’s happening out West, and in it’s happening in Pennsylvania. I’ve read there are three estates in Pennsylvania, the surface, the mineral, and the SUPPORT, and if a homeowner by some unlucky chance doesn’t own the support estate, a coal mine can mine under their house and isn’t required to leave enough ground to support them, and if their house falls in, that’s their fault because the nincompoops didn’t know enough to check into the support estate when they bought their home.

  23. Ironfarmer, here is a list of environmental groups in Ohio, http://www.eco-usa.net/orgs/oh.shtml. However, you may want your mineral rights back so you can develop them, and so an environmental group might not be a good fit. Whatever the case may be, you have more right to develop them than anyone else.
    However, at the very least, join the WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization because if you were to lease your property to oil and gas, you might want to read up on it a lot to make sure they don’t take advantage of you, which they can easily do. I have found the web site very helpful and a wealth of information. Plus, you will have taken action to have joined with other like-minded people. You know what, I’ll be there’s a bunch of Ohio members because the two states are so close together. There may be opportunities through that group to connect with other like-minded Ohioans, or Buckeyes, as we call you.


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