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Introduced Version House Bill 4146 History

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hb4146 intr
H. B. 4146


(By Delegates Perry, Ellem and Ross)

[Introduced January 20, 2010; referred to the

Committee on Natural Resources then the Judiciary.]





A BILL to amend and reenact §5A-11-3 and §5A-11-6 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to the Public Land Corporation, powers and duties; the use of mineral rights to benefit state agencies, institutions or departments; competitive bidding and notice requirements before the development or extraction of minerals on certain lands; and related standards.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §5A-11-3 and §5A-11-6 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 11. PUBLIC LAND CORPORATION.
§5A-11-3. Public Land Corporation, powers and duties.

(a) The corporation is hereby authorized and empowered to:
(1) Acquire from any persons or the State Auditor or any local, state or federal agency, by purchase, lease or other agreement, any lands necessary and required for public use;
(2) Acquire by purchase, condemnation, lease or agreement, receive by gifts and devises or exchange, rights-of-way, easements, waters and minerals suitable for public use;
(3) Sell or exchange public lands where it is determined that the sale or exchange of such tract meets any or all of the following disposal criteria:
(A) The tract was acquired for a specific purpose and the tract is no longer required for that or any other state purpose;
(B) Disposal of the tract serves important public objectives including, but not limited to, expansion of communities and economic development which cannot be achieved on lands other than public lands and which clearly outweigh other public objectives and values including, but not limited to, recreation and scenic values which would be served by maintaining the tract in state ownership; or
(C) The tract, because of its location or other characteristics, is difficult and uneconomic to manage as part of the public lands and is not suitable for management by another state department or agency.
(4) Sell, purchase or exchange lands or stumpage for the purpose of consolidating lands under state or federal government administration subject to the disposal criteria specified in subdivision (3) of this subsection;
(5) Negotiate and effect loans or grants from the government of the United States or any agency thereof for acquisition and development of lands as may be authorized by law to be acquired for public use;
(6) Expend the income from the use and development of public lands for the following purposes:
(A) Liquidate obligations incurred in the acquisition, development and administration of lands, until all obligations have been fully discharged;
(B) Purchase, develop, restore and preserve for public use, sites, structures, objects and documents of prehistoric, historical, archaeological, recreational, architectural and cultural significance to the State of West Virginia; and
(C) Obtain grants or matching moneys available from the government of the United States or any of its instrumentalities for prehistoric, historic, archaeological, recreational, architectural and cultural purposes.
(7) Designate lands, to which it has title, for development and administration for the public use including recreation, wildlife stock grazing, agricultural rehabilitation and homesteading or other conservation activities;
(8) Enter into leases as a lessor for the development and extraction of minerals, including coal, oil, gas, sand or gravel on behalf of itself or any state agency, institution or department, except as otherwise circumscribed herein: Provided, That leases for the development and extraction of minerals shall be made in accordance with the provisions of sections five and six of this article. The corporation or state agency, institution or department for which it is acting shall reserve title and ownership to the mineral rights in all cases;
(9) Convey, assign or allot lands to the title or custody of proper departments or other agencies of state government for administration and control within the functions of departments or other agencies as provided by law;
(10) Make proper lands available for the purpose of cooperating with the government of the United States in the relief of unemployment and hardship or for any other public purpose.
(b) There is hereby continued in the State Treasury a special Public Land Corporation Fund into which shall be paid all proceeds from public land sales and exchanges and rents, royalties and other payments from mineral leases: Provided, That all royalties and payments derived from rivers, streams or public lands acquired or managed by the Division of Natural Resources pursuant to section seven, article one, chapter twenty of this code and section two, article five, chapter twenty of this code shall be retained by the Division of Natural Resources: Provided, however, That all free gas, sand, gravel or other natural resources derived from a lease or contract made pursuant to this article will be used to benefit the state agency, institution or department for which the corporation was acting or to benefit any state agency, institution or department having adjacent property. The corporation may acquire public lands from use of the payments made to the fund, along with any interest accruing to the fund. The corporation shall report annually, just prior to the beginning of the regular session of the Legislature, to the finance committees of the Legislature on the financial condition of the special fund. The corporation shall report annually to the Legislature on its public land holdings and all its leases, its financial condition and its operations and shall make such recommendations to the Legislature concerning the acquisition, leasing, development, disposition and use of public lands.
(c) All state agencies, institutions, divisions and departments shall make an inventory of the public lands of the state as may be by law specifically allocated to and used by each and provide to the corporation a list of such public lands and minerals, including their current use, intended use or best use to which lands and minerals may be put: Provided, That the Division of Highways need not provide the inventory of public lands allocated to and used by it, and the Division of Natural Resources need not provide the inventory of rivers, streams and public lands acquired or managed by it. The inventory shall identify those parcels of land which have no present or foreseeable useful purpose to the State of West Virginia. The inventory shall be submitted annually to the corporation by August 1. The corporation shall compile the inventory of all public lands and minerals and report annually to the Legislature by no later than January 1, on its public lands and minerals and the lands and minerals of the other agencies, institutions, divisions or departments of this state which are required to report their holdings to the corporation as set forth in this subsection, and its financial condition and its operations.
(d) The corporation will coordinate with other state agencies, institutions and departments in order to develop and execute plans to utilize those organizations' mineral rights which benefit their operations or the operations of any other state agency, institution or department.
§5A-11-6. Competitive bidding and notice requirements before the development or extraction of minerals on certain lands; related standards.

(a) The corporation may, for itself or on behalf of any state agency, institution or department, enter into a lease or contract for the development of minerals, including, but not limited to, coal, gas, oil, sand or gravel on or under lands in which the corporation holds any right, title or interest: Provided, That no lease or contract may be entered into for the extraction and removal of minerals by surface mining or auger mining of coal.
(b) With the exception of deep mining operations which are already in progress and permitted as of July 5, 1989, the extraction of coal by deep mining methods under state forests or wildlife refuges may be permitted only if the lease or contract provides that no entries, portals, air shafts or other incursions upon and into the land incident to the mining operations may be placed or constructed upon the lands or within three thousand feet of its boundary.
(c) Any lease or contract entered into by the corporation for the development of minerals shall reserve to the state all rights to subjacent surface support with which the state is seized or possessed at the time of such lease or contract.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provisions of the code to the contrary, nothing herein may be construed to permit extraction of minerals by any method from, on or under any state park or state recreation area, nor the extraction of minerals by strip or auger mining upon any state forest or wildlife refuge.
(e) The corporation may enter into a lease or contract for the development of minerals where the lease or contract is not prohibited by any other provisions of this code, only after receiving sealed bids therefor, after notice by publication as a Class II legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code. The area for publication shall be each county in which the minerals are located.
(f) The minerals so advertised may be leased or contracted for development at not less than the fair market value, as determined by an appraisal made by an independent person or firm chosen by the corporation, to the highest responsible bidder, who shall give bond for the proper performance of the contract or lease as the corporation designates: Provided, That the corporation may reject any and all bids and to readvertise for bids.
(g) If the provisions of this section have been complied with, and no bid equal to or in excess of the fair market value is received, the corporation may, at any time during a period of six months after the opening of the bids, lease or contract for the development of the minerals, but the lease or contract price may not be less than the fair market value.
(h) Any lease or contract for the development of minerals entered into after the effective date of this section shall be made in accordance with the provisions of this section and section five of this article.
(i) The corporation will consult with the office of the Attorney General to assist the corporation in carrying out the provisions of this section.
(j) The corporation shall consult with an independent mineral consultant and any other competent third parties with experience and expertise in the leasing of minerals, to assist the corporation in carrying out the provisions of this section, including determining fair market value and negotiating terms and conditions of mineral leases.
(k) Once the lessee commences the production of minerals and royalties become due and are paid to the Public Land Corporation, the Public Land Corporation shall hire an independent auditing firm to periodically review the lessee's books and accounts for compliance of payment of appropriate royalties due the Public Land Corporation for its minerals as produced under the lease agreement.


NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow the Public Land Corporation to enter into leases and contracts regarding mineral rights on behalf of other state agencies, institutions and departments to benefit their operations.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

This bill was recommended for introduction and passage during the 2010 Regular Session of the Legislature by the Legislative Oversight Committee on Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority.
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