After getting stymied on the state House of Representatives floor, state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, said he’ll try again with a different version of legislation that guarantees lease holders minimum royalties for natural gas extraction.
“The majority leader asked me to come back with something the caucus can agree on,” Everett said. “It’s a complicated issue, but I’m hoping an amendment I have will ease my colleagues’ concerns.”
Floor debate on May 6 on the legislation, HB 1684, ended in a stalemate after an amendment, which would have gutted the bill, was introduced.
The original bill sponsored by Everett and other lawmakers from the northern tier counties, where drilling in the Marcellus Shale is among the heaviest in the state, guaranteed landowners the 12.5 percent in royalty payments called for in the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act of 1979.
Many landowners in the lawmakers’ districts have complained that their payments are far less than that after drillers deduct post-production costs.
Everett said his amendment will attempt to narrowly define the post-production costs that would be allowed.
“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.”