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Working with its client, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (IOGA), Gmerek Government Relations passed legislation to create an alternative method for resolutions of disputes between the owner of surface rights to real property and a well operator when the operator intends either (a) to drill a coal bed methane well; or (b) to construct an access road associated with the development of coal bed methane.

Act 4 of 2010  creates a three-person “Coal Bed Methane Review Board,” which is comprised of one member who represents the oil, natural gas, and coal industry, one members representing landowners, and one member with expertise in the field of petroleum geology or petroleum engineers.  The Board is to hear disputes from landowners regarding the placement of coal bed methane wells or access roads associated with drilling.  The Board provides an alternate pathway for landowners to resolve these issues without having to undergo the lengthy and costly court process.

Gmerek Government Relations congratulates IOGA and its members on establishing this alternate dispute resolution program.

Governor Rendell’s press release regarding the enactment of the legislation may be found at the following link:

Governor Rendell Press Release on Coal Bed Methane