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West Virginia Oil and Gas Environmental Certifications Can Benefit Landowners

Journalist Pam Kasey suggested, in a print article in the West Virginia State Journal dated May 2, 2013, that while it is possible for a surface owner to attempt to insist that a driller become certified under new certification standards set by the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (as described last week in our blog), the standards are more likely to benefit minerals owners as bargaining tools for parties signing leases for oil and gas development.  If the mineral interests are severed from the surface estate, then the surface owner will have little ability to use the standards for their own benefit.  Per the article, the surface landowner will derive the most benefit from the new standards in situations when the minerals and the surface estate are owned by the same party, allowing the landowner can attempt to negotiate the standards into a lease or other agreement affecting the property.