Tom Fast is the West Virginia Delegate for House District 32, which covers Fayette County. In his last campaign, he received a thousand dollars from the energy and natural resources sector. Although he voted against Petroleum Forced Pooling in the past, he has just staked his name and his reputation on the newest attempt to legislate Forced Pooling (HB 4268) on behalf of out-of state gas companies and their lobbyists.
Tom Fast can be reached at his business phone of (304) 574-0777, his Capitol phone of (304) 340-3170, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He needs to hear from West Virginians that Forced Pooling is theft.
Contact Delegate Fast and tell him he needs to take his name off of HB 4268 and wade back out of the Swamp. He had the good sense to know Forced Pooling was wrong in 2015, and he should know it is wrong NOW.
If he doesn’t change course, his legacy will be “Delegate Tom Fast used to protect property rights.”
Delegate Fast sponsored HB 4268– 2018’s version of Forced Pooling. The Swamp Dwellers in Charleston are trying to rebrand it as the “Cotenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act.” Delegate Bill Anderson is the lead sponsor of this attack on property owners; Delegates Kelly, Zatezalo, Westfall, Fast, Higginbotham, Ward, Hollen, Atkinson, Foster and Lane are cosponsors. All of these legislators are fighting hard to deliver exactly what out-of-state gas and oil companies want—the right to force West Virginians to give up their property rights.
Gas lobbyists have already admitted that Cotenancy is just the newest spin on Forced Pooling. Even industry publications have referred to it as “Forced Pooling Lite”. The Swamp Dwellers seem to be making an appeal for “Majority” rights, but this is just a distraction tactic. The fact is that the majority of consenting co-tenants in a would-be unit for development are already protected. Currently, they are within their rights to take a deal, negotiate for the best price, and let big out-of-state gas and oil companies develop on their property.
This bill would allow companies to force non-consenting property owners in a tract to give up their rights against their will. If the consenting co-tenants owning 75% of the rights in a tract make a bad deal, the owners of the other 25% would be forced to accept the same deal… Even if they wanted to hold out for a better price. Even if they never wanted their property developed in the first place.
The owners of that 75% of the property are completely protected in their right to strike bargains with gas and oil developers. What they shouldn’t be allowed to do is help gas and oil companies steal their neighbor’s property. This bill claims to “protect” these greedy folks, but what it actually does is force the minority owners to submit to the tyranny of the majority
HB 4268 would allow out-of-state gas and oil companies to force property owners to give up their rights without their consent.
That’s not protection, that’s Majority-Rules Theft. That’s Forced Pooling, Tom.
HB 2688: Petroleum Forced Pooling (2015)
In 2015, Delegate Fast did the right thing and voted against HB 2688, Petroleum Forced Pooling. Fast voted against it when the House took their initial vote, and he voted against it once again during the failed concurrence vote.
This forced pooling bill would have allowed oil companies to steal from non-consenting property owners as long as they had consent from landowners that owned at least 80 percent of the net acreage of a horizontal well unit.
We hope to see Delegate Fast come to his senses and fight against Forced Pooling like he once did.