HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) today announced that he will introduce legislation aimed at expanding the rights of landowners who are currently leased with gas companies for the exploration of natural gas.
The legislation, known as the Oil and Gas Lease Protection Package, will consist of three bills:
The first bill would expand upon Act 66 of 2013 by allowing royalty interest owners the opportunity to inspect records of gas companies to verify proper payments. All information provided by a gas company will be confidential in nature and cannot be disclosed to any other person, other than a current leaseholder.
The second bill would prohibit a gas company from retaliating against any royalty interest owner by terminating their lease agreement or ceasing development on leased property because a royalty interest owner questions the accuracy of current royalty payments.
The third bill would require a gas company to record a satisfaction piece in the county Recorder of Deeds office where the oil and gas well is located within 30 days upon expiration, termination, or forfeiture of an oil and gas lease. The satisfaction piece will release the gas company’s interests in the oil and gas. This is similar to what a mortgage company would be required to do after a mortgage was paid in full.
“I believe this legislation will dovetail nicely with the legislation (House Bill 1684) already introduced in the House of Representatives,” Yaw said. “Over these past several months, I have said consistently that I would support the House legislation if and when it passes that Chamber and moves to the Senate. I am not only reiterating my support for House Bill 1684, but I am also putting forward my own legislation that would support the interests of landowners already leased with natural gas companies.”