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Much Anticipated Decision Clears the Way for Continued Shale Gas Development

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision earlier this week reaffirming the distinction between the words “gas” and “minerals” as those words are used in private conveyances of land.  In Butler v. Powers, the Court made clear a reservation of “minerals” does not include the right to natural gas, unless the word “gas” was expressly stated in the reservation.  The practical effect of the Court’s decision is Marcellus Shale development will continue, i.e., the decision did not unravel the plethora of leases pursuant to which natural gas is being developed in the region.  Babst Calland has more on the decision here.