Erikka Storch is a West Virginia delegate from House District 3, which covers part of Ohio county. In 2015, she voted against Petroleum Forced Pooling, but is supporting this year’s Forced Pooling/”Cotenancy” attack.
In her last campaign, she received several thousand dollars in donations from the energy sector, including about two thousand from the gas and oil industry.
As a member of the House Energy Committee, Storch voted YES to advance HB 4268– the new Forced Pooling. Her yes vote is an attack on West Virginia property owners, signalling her intention to allow out-of-state gas corporations to steal from us.
The bill advanced to House Judiciary on a 14-10 vote.
Erikka can be reached at her home phone of (304) 232-9494, at her Capitol phone of (304) 340-3378, or by email at email@example.com.
Ask her why she voted for a bill that would allow large out-of-state gas corporations to seize the property of West Virginians.
Remind her that she knew Forced Pooling was WRONG back in 2015, and she knows it is wrong now.
The Swamp Dwellers in Charleston are trying to rebrand Forced Pooling with HB 4268, calling it the “Cotenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act.” Delegate Bill Anderson is the lead sponsor, and Delegates Kelly, Zatezalo, Westfall, Fast, Higginbotham, Hollen, Atkinson, Foster, Lane, and Ward 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, Erikka.
HB 2688: Petroleum Forced Pooling (2015)
In 2015, Delegate Storch did the right thing and voted against HB 2688, Petroleum Forced Pooling. Storch voted against it when the House took their initial vote, and she 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 Storch come to her senses and fight against Forced Pooling like she once did. Wade back out of the Swamp, Erikka!