In January, State Senator Gene Yaw (R) has reintroduced Senate Bill 147 and Senate Bill 148, which were then both approved unanimously by the PA Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Previously, these bills did not pass through the state House of Representatives last session.
SB 147 provides a number of changes to the rights of landowners specifically, allowing the landowners (lessor) the ability to audit or review the documentation of the lessee to validate the payment made. Additionally, the bill would require the royalty payments to be made within 90 days of production. Also, the bill includes provisions that would require the landowners to be annually notified of any joint ventures that separately pay their share of the royalty.
SB 148 provides protection for a lessor that reports a potential violation and is known as the Natural Gas Lease Anti-Retaliation Act. The bill states that a lessee may not retaliate by ceasing development or production against a lessor that is acting in good faith.
Both bills are attempting to protect landowners and provide transparency within the process.