Coalbed methane gas; release of funds held in escrow or suspense. (HB461)

Introduced By

Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Coalbed methane gas; release of funds held in escrow or suspense. Requires the operator of certain previously pooled coalbed methane gas wells to request, by the beginning of 2015, the release of any funds held in escrow or suspense to the person who possesses a claim through a gas title. A coal claimant may halt such a release of funds by providing evidence that the coal and gas claimants have reached an agreement or that a proceeding against the gas claimant is pending. For a well that is pooled after July 1, 2014, the bill requires the operator to pay royalties directly to the gas claimant unless the coal claimant provides evidence of an agreement or a proceeding within a certain time. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/06/2014Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/14 14100348D
01/06/2014Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
01/13/2014Assigned ACNRsub: Natural Resources
01/16/2014Impact statement from DPB (HB461)
01/22/2014Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting (3-Y 4-N)
01/23/2014Impact statement from DPB (HB461)
01/29/2014Reconsideration by Natural Resources Subcommittee by voice vote
02/04/2014Subcommittee recommends reporting (6-Y 0-N)
02/04/2014Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Appropriations
02/05/2014Reported from Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (20-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/05/2014Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/05/2014Impact statement from DPB (HB461)
02/07/2014Reported from Appropriations (21-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/08/2014Read first time
02/10/2014Read second time and engrossed
02/11/2014Read third time and passed House (95-Y 3-N)
02/11/2014VOTE: PASSAGE (95-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2014Constitutional reading dispensed
02/12/2014Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
02/27/2014Continued to 2015 in Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 1 minute.


Jamie Hale writes:

In the website listed above, you can read article after article about the problems we have faced with this issue. I think that it is time for the lawmakers to step back and let this play out in court. The federal judge in this case has been following VA law from the 2004 Virginia Supreme Court ruling in Harrison Wyatt vs. Ratliff, as well as the law passed in 2010 (SB376), codifying gas ownership. For this bill to be introduced at this time, knowing that we could possibly be days away from a ruling on the ownership issue which would settle this issue once and for all, for all parties involved is a slap in the face to the landowners of SWVA. Knowing that EQT (one of the companies being sued by landowners in the class-action cases), has helped to write this bill makes us wonder if we are dealing with yet another corrupt politician. This bill looks pretty on the surface, but when you have dealt with this issue as long as I have, you learn to look beneath the pretty to find the hidden truth. If this bill is passed, it will create another situation exactly like the one we are fighting in court, only this time, the coal owners will be allowed to sue the landowners in a case-by-case basis, which will once again allow the companies to win because the landowners do not have the money to fight the cases on their own, (thus the class-action cases). This attempt to allow the gas companies to again write the law as they did in 1990 is a travesty. We have been robbed, trespassed against, defrauded, and cheated long enough. If you have any say in this matter, it is time VA lawmakers stood up for the people they are supposed to represent. The coal was sold off my property in 1887 for 600 dollars, we have a coal only severance deed. CNX Gas has pumped coal-bed methane (really just a name the coal companies gave natural gas so that they could lay claim to it), for 15 plus years. There are roughly 200-250,000 dollars held in escrow that should belong to my family. This is only a 1/8 royalty of what they have made from our property. The full amount then, would amount to approximately 2 million dollars that this company has made from property that belongs to me and my family. Every trick in the book has been and will be tried by these coal and gas companies to get what is in escrow and keep from paying us for our property. The passage of this bill will do just that... it will give them the get out of jail free card they have been searching for since the lawsuits began 3 1/2 years ago. KILL THIS BILL! Signed, Jamie Hale

Amanda Deel writes:

Agree with Jamie Hale !Kill this bill!

Kenneth Osborne writes:

I agree this bill needs to be killed

Angie Crum writes:

I agree, kill this bill!

Morgan Keene writes:

This Bill Needs To Be Killed!

Kathy Selvage writes:

This Commonwealth has had many years to right a wrong and just couldn't find a way or perhaps wouldn't. Now that it looks as though it will be settled in court, why on earth would the Commonwealth want to step in? Are we about to throw yet another cog in the wheel? Let the bill die, step aside and allow the court cases to go forward.

Jamie Hale writes:

This bill was defeated in subcommittee on 1/23/2014. It was then reintroduced yesterday after someone was convinced to change their mind. This law as it is written is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of Virginia, The United States Supreme Court, and Senate Bill 376, all should have settled this issue years ago, and should have been law for everyone then. Why can't some politicians follow the law that is already in place, and let this play out in court. This would never have been in court if these politicians and the companies had followed the law, or been forced to follow the law. Why must we have another law? Could it be because this one is designed to help the companies instead of the people? Just remember, all the politicians that vote this into law, you will come up for re-election, and this will be made public, how you voted against the people you were elected to represent.