The news story “Hilcorp Energy first in Pa. to test law allowing access to gas without property owners' consent” and the editorial “Forced pooling? Change the law” (Oct. 6, Oct. 9 and TribLIVE.com) regarding the 1961 state law that allows forced pooling for Utica shale natural-gas drilling seem to portray a misperception, implying that forced pooling of mineral interests allows drilling companies to “take” a person's property.
Such pooling does not impact surface rights. Landowners cannot be “forced” to allow drilling activity on their land without a lease agreement. Most know that natural gas may flow deep underground across property boundaries. Forced pooling simply attempts to account for this by “forcing” unleased landowners to accept the same payments as leased owners in the same drilling unit.
The true reason for forced pooling is actually the exact opposite — so that a mineral owner with small acreage may not unfairly prevent his or her neighbor from drilling.
A drilling unit must have a majority of property leased before unleased acreage can be included. The news story stated Hilcorp leased all but 35 acres out of 3,267 in its drilling unit (99 percent) — multiple horizontal wells can be drilled from just a few surface pads and a few acres there.
Would it be fair if a few small property owners were able to prevent the majority of their neighbors from accessing mineral rights? Similar laws have existed in many states for many years, for good reason.
Show commenting policy
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.
- ‘And another thing...’
- Already lying
- What happened to manners?
- Shame on Leechburg Area
- Appreciating the Trib I
- Appreciating the Trib II
- God smiled on get-together
- Self-serving & corrupt
- Rushing to judge
- Bring back ‘eagle cam’
- Missing WJAS