PRESS RELEASE: Recommendations for Forced Pooling Will Be Finalized Tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Scott Marlow 
Senior Policy Specialist
Tel: (919) 542-1396, x210 
August 27, 2013

Recommendations for Forced Pooling Will Be Finalized Tomorrow at 1 p.m.
RAFI urges landowners to voice concerns at the public meeting

Tomorrow is the last day for the Mining and Energy Commission’s Compulsory Pooling Study Group to hear public recommendations on North Carolina’s compulsory pooling law. The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. at the Green Square Training Room 1210, 117 W. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC. Forced pooling, known as “compulsory pooling” in North Carolina, gives states the right to force a non-consenting landowner into a mineral rights lease. In most states, this requires that a certain percentage of surrounding land already be leased. At tomorrow’s public meeting, the Compulsory Pooling Study Group will finalize its recommended changes, including the threshold of consent, which is the percentage of the acres within a “drilling unit” that must be leased. “Depending on the final recommendations, hundreds of landowners could be forced to sell their gas whether they lease or not,” says James Robinson, Director of the Landowner Rights and Fracking Project at the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA. Even if 90% of the land in a 320 or 640 acre “drilling unit” was required to be leased to implement forced pooling, a minority of large landowners could force a majority of small landowners to allow extraction. A draft report for the Study Group with figures explaining this is available as a pdf file in the Aug. 28 agenda for the Study Group:

In North Carolina, there are few legal protections for a landowner in the event of compulsory pooling. The state does not have a regulatory structure governing a compulsory pooling process. RAFI is urging landowners and community members, especially from Lee, Moore and Chatham Counties, to attend the meeting and voice their opinions. “It is critical that landowners tell Study Group members that recommended changes should protect landowners’ property rights,” says Robinson. “Otherwise, forced pooling could set up an undemocratic process where a majority of landowners could be forced to sell by a minority of landowners.”