House Bill 4268, the forced-leasing bill, will be on its second reading during the House Floor Session today at 11:00 am. You can watch or listen to that session on the West Virginia Legislature’s website here.
This bill, which many people, including the gas industry, have been calling Forced Pooling “Lite,” would allow a drilling company to force the owners of a minority percentage of mineral rights to lease their property, provided that the company has made deals with the owners of 75% of the mineral rights.
As you may know, Lissa was removed from a recent House Judiciary Committee public hearing on HB 4268 for naming three legislators—Delegate Lane, Chairman Shott, and her opponent Delegate Harshbarger– and listing their large campaign donations from gas, oil, and energy interests. Gas lobbyists predictably spoke in favor of the bill which would allow companies with money and power to seize mineral rights in a quick and industry-friendly process.
These lobbyists talked about compromise and what was best for everyone, and then behind closed doors their well-paid friends in the Committee quietly stripped most of the protections for minority owners from the bill before it was presented.
The stripped-down bill passed in the House Judiciary Committee on a 16-9 vote along party lines (the House Democratic Caucus has come out against forced pooling legislation during the 2018 Regular Session).
There is still time to contact your legislators and tell them that giving gas corporations the power to steal from West Virginians is horrifying.
Please contact your own delegate first (see how to find and contact your delegate here), then the Delegates below.
- Delegate Erikka Storch– (304) 340-3378
- Delegate Patrick Martin– (304) 340-3123
- Delegate Zack Maynard– (304) 340-3152
- Delegate Jason Harshbarger– (304) 340-3195
- Delegate John Shott– (304) 340-3252
- Delegate Joshua Higgenbotham– (304) 340-3118
- Delegate Tom Fast– (304) 340-3170
Then start calling down the list of House Republicans. House Dems have said they will vote against it (no word from Senate Dems). Some House Republicans are likely to stand up for us as well; libertarian leaners are especially likely to be on the side of our rights.
We cannot allow corporations to purchase our government and give away our rights! NO FORCED LEASING!