On Thursday, the West Virginia House of Delegates did what they had been unable to do the over the past few years: they passed the controversial cotenancy bill, aka forced pooling lite.
House Bill 4268 would require the approval of 75 percent of owners to allow natural gas drilling on the property on a single tract of land. After nearly two hours of debate, the bill passed on a 60-40 vote.
On Wednesday, several amendments were introduced and three passed.
Delegate Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monangalia) tried to amend the bill to increase the approval threshold to 90 percent. That amendment was voted down.
Another amendment offered by Del. Phil Isner, D-Randolph, redirects 50 percent of the money from the Unlocatable Interest Owners Fund and puts it toward funding the Public Employee Insurance Agency.
And still another amendment was proposed by Del. Michael Folk, R-Wood allowing the bill to only apply to land owned by seven or more people. That amendment passed 90-6.
The bill now heads to the Senate.