Gas drilling royalty owners oppose new Pa. bill

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Oil and gas royalty owners and an environmental group in Pennsylvania both agree that legislation awaiting Gov. Tom’ Corbett’s signature seriously weakens negotiating rights for some landowners.

The National Association of Royalty Owners says Senate Bill 259 could use decades-old mineral leases to force landowners to accept Marcellus Shale drilling under their property. Pennsylvania chapter member Trevor Walczak says Gov. Tom Corbett shouldn’t sign the bill in its current form. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported the group’s concerns.

Penn Future environmental attorney George Jugovic says the final bill is outrageous and out of touch with current landowner concerns over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking operations. The legislation would only impact people with existing oil and gas leases.

Patrick Henderson, Corbett’s energy executive, declined to comment on the bill.

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