Attorney General Kathleen Kane has issued administrative subpoenas throughout the shale industry in Pennsylvania, according to a story published on Capitolwire.com.
J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for Kane, said in an email that he couldn’t comment at this time about the subpoenas. A spokesman for the shale industry likewise declined comment.
State lawmakers have registered hundreds of complaints from constituents getting less than anticipated in royalty payments from some natural gas drillers. The state’s Minimum Royalty Act of 1979 places royalty payments at 12.5 percent of production value. But the law also allows companies to deduct post-production costs, including the cost of getting the gas to a main pipeline.
Earlier this year, Gov. Tom Corbett asked Kane to look into the complaints.
In May, the state House of Representatives debated HB 1684, which would guarantee minimum royalty payments, whatever the post-production costs. The bill was shelved after an amendment was introduced to gut it.
One of the bill’s sponsors, state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, said at the time that he and the other sponsors would work on an amendment that would specify which post-production costs could be deducted.
“Companies use some 16 different codes in determining post-production costs,” he said. “Hopefully we can get language that the caucus agrees with and still protect landowners.”
No further action has been taken on the bill. The General Assembly broke for summer recess in early July and is scheduled to return Sept. 15.