February 2, 2015
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In This Issue

Pa. Bill would Allow Integration between Companies     

State Senator Gene Yaw has introduced legislation that would allow the PUC to regulate pooling of leased lands with those of other companies to promote orderly development. Read S.B. 313 here.
Pa. DCNR Investigating Royalty Payments  

DCNR has discovered that some operators could be deducting post-production fees from royalties paid to the state under lands they leased in State forests.   More here
Pa. Senate Advances Landowner Protection Bills  

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted unanimously to advance S.B. 147 and 148, both aimed at giving landowners more transparency and protection in lease agreements and royalty payments. 
Quotable Quote: 
"Tough times don't last, tough people do, remember?"

--Gregory Peck.     
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Gov. Wolf Reinstates Leasing Ban 



Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order on Thursday reinstating a moratorium on oil and gas leasing in state parks and forests. The move reverses an executive order issued by his predecessor, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett (which we covered here). The move means Pennsylvania will lose an estimated $95 million in projected revenue at a time when its budget deficit is nearly $2 billion. (more here).
Pa. Supreme Court to hear Title Wash Case

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has granted allocatur in Herder Spring Hunting Club v. Keller       


The dispute in Herder Spring involves competing claims of oil and gas ownership based on the validity of a so-called "title wash."  In May, the Superior Court overturned a trial court summary judgment order and re-affirmed the legitimacy of the title wash.


The issues taken up by Supreme Court are: (1) Whether the Superior Court erred in ruling that a tax sale that occurred 36 years after the severance extinguished petitioners' interest where the tax deed and related documents described the assessed property as being held by the then-unseated surface estate owner and when it is undisputed that there was no prior production or other basis upon which a valid assessment could be made of the reserved oil and natural gas interests; (2) Whether the Superior Court denied the petitioners' due process rights when it held that the 1935 tax sale divested petitioners of their properly reserved oil and natural gas interests; (3) Whether the Superior Court overlooked controlling authority which provides that a grantee is bound by prior exceptions and reservations cited in its deed; and (4) Whether the Superior Court exceeded the scope of its appellate authority by making a factual finding that the Kellers never notified the Centre County Commissioners of their severed oil and gas estate when the trial court found that there was no evidence one way or another as to whether such notice was provided.

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