Shale Energy Law Blog
Senate Bill 576 (SB 576), introduced in the West Virginia Senate to address the oil and natural gas industry’s effort to efficiently develop production of natural resources, died in the last week of the regular session of the West Virginia Legislature, which concluded on April 8, 2017.
For an analysis of the original version of SB 576, click here, and for an analysis of the significantly revised version that was sent to the West Virginia House, click here. Before passing the Senate, an amendment agreed to by the industry provided for a graduated severance tax provision that increased the severance tax rate as the price of natural gas increased. Click here for the text of the amendment.
Unfortunately, a frantic last week of the regular legislative session, highlighted by contentious budget battles and House debate over a medical marijuana bill, resulted in many bills never reaching the House floor for a vote, with SB 576 being among those. Given that the Legislature needs to be called back into special session to pass a budget that is presently being negotiated, there is speculation that SB 576 may be put on the agenda for that special session. Unless that happens, however, co-tenancy and lease integration is dead in West Virginia until February 2018.