Joe Statler is a West Virginia delegate from House District 51, which covers part of Monongalia county. In his last campaign, he received over eight thousand dollars in donations from the energy sector, including a few thousand from the gas and oil industry and the PACs, lobbyists, and lawyers who represent it.
As a member of the House Energy Committee, Statler voted YES to advance HB 4268– the new Forced Pooling. His yes vote is an attack on West Virginia property owners, signalling his intention to allow out-of-state gas corporations to steal from us.
The bill advanced to House Judiciary on a 14-10 vote.
Joe can be reached at his home phone of (304) 376-7336, at his Capitol phone of (304) 340-3900, or by email at email@example.com.
Ask him why he voted for a bill that would allow large out-of-state gas corporations to seize the property of West Virginians.
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, Joe.