Forced Pooling & Landowner Rights

RAFI participated in the Mining and Energy Commission’s Compulsory Pooling Study Group to examine “compulsory pooling” and recommend potential regulations to protect landowners from having their property taken for private gain.

What is Forced Pooling?
Forced pooling, known as “compulsory pooling” in North Carolina, gives states the right to compel a non-consenting landowner into a mineral rights lease. In most states, this requires that a certain percentage of surrounding land already be leased.

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.

The Mining and Energy Commission’s Compulsory Pooling Study Group
In July of 2012, the North Carolina legislature ratified the Clean Energy and Economic Security Act. Also known as Senate Bill 820 (Session Law 2012-143) this law, charged the Commission with developing a “modern regulatory program” for the management of oil and gas exploration and development activities in North Carolina, including the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Because of the current compulsory pooling law, RAFI and other advocates are concerned about the potential threats to landowner rights. The “Hydraulic Fracturing: Where Are We Now?,” presentation embedded below provides a brief overview of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, as well as in-depth analysis of compulsory pooling. The presentation was authored by RAFI Research & Policy Associate James Robinson.

Hydraulic Fracturing: Where Are We Now? from RAFI-USA