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Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 147 History

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HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 147


(By Delegates Frazier and Lane)


(Introduced March 10, 2012)



 

Requesting that the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study the means by which owners of surface interests in tracts of real property from which ownership of interests in the minerals have been severed may have a first option to purchase interests in severed minerals which are sold on the courthouse steps for non-payment of property taxes, and to study other means by which ownership of the minerals and surface may be reunited.

    Whereas, In many parts of the State the ownership of oil and gas and other minerals have been severed from ownership of the surface; and

    Whereas, Many believe that having surface interest ownership severed from mineral interest ownership (sometimes called “split estates”) is not beneficial because the owner of the surface has no incentive to cooperate in the exploration and production of valuable minerals in that the surface owner receives no royalties or other benefits from production, but instead has industrial uses imposed on the surface without corresponding compensation or without accommodation of present and future surface uses, and

    Whereas, Many believe that having surface interest ownership severed from mineral interest ownership is not beneficial because the controlling interest of the ownership of the mineral estate does not have sufficient incentive to exercise stewardship of the surface; and

    Whereas, Many believe that it would be more equitable for the surface owner to have the financial benefits that come from ownership of the surface; and

    Whereas, Many believe that any steps that could foster the reunification of the severed surface and mineral interests would be in the interest of the State and its citizens; and

    Whereas, It may be possible for statutes to be amended so that owners of tracts of surface above interests in minerals that are sold on the courthouse steps for failure to pay taxes could be given an option to purchase the mineral interests without decreasing tax revenues to the counties, without prejudicing the rights of other heirship owners of the mineral interests, while giving extra payment to those who may have purchased the property at the tax sale so that they receive a profit for their labors and continue to have incentives to bid at tax sales; and

    Whereas, Other statutory changes may be discovered that also might foster the reunification of the severed surface and mineral interests and benefit the interest of the State and its citizens; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study whether statutes may be enacted to give the owners of surface interests in property to purchase interests in underlying mineral tracts sold at tax sales and whether other statutory changes may be discovered that also might foster the reunification of the severed surface and mineral interests; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the Legislature on the first day of the regular session, 2013, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations together with drafts of any legislation to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

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