West Virginia Senate passes oil, natural gas drilling bill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill to allow drilling for oil and natural gas beneath property where 75 percent of owners of its royalty interests agree.

The measure passed 23-11 Saturday. It will have to be reconciled with the House-passed version.

Under current law, a single co-owner can block drilling, though a developer can sue to partition the property and proceed.

Sen. Michael Romano voted against the bill, saying it would make it too easy for big companies to take property and make a profit.

Supporters say the bill enables a supermajority of a property's owners to make money from West Virginia's underground gas reserves and would give the state more tax revenues.

Lead sponsor Del. Bill Anderson says he's optimistic that Gov. Jim Justice will sign it.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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