Momentum builds for eminent domain drilling bill

    The pooling legislation hasn’t been introduced yet, but the measure would let energy companies extract gas from under the land of property owners who have refused to sign drilling leases.

    Pennsylvania lawmakers are drafting a bill that would essentially give eminent domain rights to natural gas drillers.

    The pooling legislation hasn’t been introduced yet, but the measure would let energy companies extract gas from under the land of property owners who have refused to sign drilling leases.

    Sponsor Garth Everett, a Lycoming County Republican, says that wouldn’t happen without a lengthy hearing process, and argues no one would suddenly end up with a rig in their yard.

    “Nobody would ever be brought into a unit or a pool and have any kind of development take place on their property. It would just allow them to be placed in the unit. And the way I understand it right now, it would also allow for there to be horizontal drilling thousands and thousands of feet beneath their property, which would case no surface disruption.”

    Everett says drillers are already able to extract the gas from uncooperative landowners, and he just wants to give them compensation.

    Opponents say the measure infringes on property rights, and is too invasive.

    House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chair Bud George has called it an “ugly provision.”

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