On Dec. 23, the West Virginia Mineral Owners Association held its first meeting to formalize opposition to forced pooling legislation. Landowners from Raleigh, Greenbrier and Monroe Counties who own their mineral rights were present.
Forced pooling is a legal procedure which allows corporations to take minerals from private landowners who do not want to sell their mineral rights. Supporters claim that the policy protects landowners by paying them for the minerals that are taken without their permission. Elected officials in the state legislature have made passage of a forced pooling bill a top priority.
“It is legalized robbery,” said Jon McLaughlin, a mineral owner in Monroe County, West Virginia. “Forced pooling is simply more of the same old thing from our corporate legislature and their Washington pals. The citizens of West Virginia are of no consequence whatsoever.”
Forced pooling legislation failed during the 2015 interim legislative session by a tie vote and will be re-introduced early in the 2016 regular legislative session.
“The industry should not have the right to forcibly take property from private landowners,” stated Basil Keaton, a mineral owner from Raleigh County, WV. “I do not want to sell the minerals on my land and want my children and grandchildren to have the same rights to our land as I do today.”
The Southern West Virginia Mineral Owners Coalition will be actively lobbying against forced pooling in the 2016 legislative session. Private landowners who own their mineral rights and are interested in standing against forced pooling are highly encouraged to contact their elected officials and Elise Keaton at 304-207-1150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.