The editorial “Forced pooling? Change the law” (Oct. 9 and TribLIVE.com) is right. The 1961 law that allows “forced pooling” for Utica shale natural gas is trashing landowners' property rights, just as the 2010 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in Kilmer v. Elexco has decimated the intent of Pennsylvania's 1979 Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act to protect landowners from unfair or deceptive drilling company leases and guarantee them 12.5-percent minimum royalty payments.
However, the Supreme Court is allowing drilling companies to take almost unlimited deductions from royalties for post-wellhead costs (gathering, transportation, marketing, etc.), which are almost impossible for people outside the gas industry to fathom or verify. Rapacious, mostly out-of-state, drilling companies are now taking ever-increasing deductions, reportedly sometimes as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of royalties.
Landowners, mostly farmers, who leased their gas rights for shallow wells before anyone outside the gas industry ever envisioned Marcellus deep-well and horizontal drilling, are now locked into 12.5-percent leases from which greater and greater post-wellhead deductions are being taken.
Gerald S. Schiller
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.