Martin “Rick” Atkinson III is the West Virginia Delegate for House District 11, which covers part of Roane county and part of Jackson county. In his last campaign, he received thousands from gas and oil companies, PACs, and their corporate lawyers, as well as thousands more from power companies which invest in gas. Since receiving these industry donations, Delegate Atkinson has introduced legislation which would seize the property of West Virginians and hand it over to big, out-of-state gas and oil companies: HB 4268, the new Forced Pooling.
Atkinson can be reached at his home phone of (304) 927-1563, his Capitol phone of (304) 340-3185, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He needs to hear from West Virginians that Forced Pooling is theft.
Contact Delegate Atkinson and tell him he needs to take his name off of HB 4268 and wade back out of the Swamp.
Delegate Atkinson 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.” Atkinson is not alone in this attack on property owners; Delegate Bill Anderson is the lead sponsor, and 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, Rick.