Ray Hollen is a West Virginia delegate from House District 9, which covers Wirt county and part of Wood. This year, he sponsored HB 4268– the new Forced Pooling.
Ray Hollen can be reached at his home number of (681) 236-2090, his Capitol phone of (304) 340-3136, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He needs to hear from West Virginians that Forced Pooling is theft.
Contact Delegate Hollen and tell him West Virginians don’t appreciate his attempts to give large out-of-state gas and oil corporations the right to steal from us. Sponsoring Forced Pooling legislation is an attack on property owners.
Delegate Hollen sponsored HB 4268– 2018’s version of Forced Pooling. Hollen is not alone in this vicious attack on property owners; Delegate Bill Anderson is the lead sponsor, and Delegates Kelly, Zatezalo, Westfall, Fast, Higginbotham, Atkinson, Foster, Ward, 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, Ray.
HB 4268 passed a 14-10 vote in the House Energy Committee and is currently being considered by the House Judiciary Committee. Ray Hollen is a member of House Judiciary.