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Pickett Pleased Royalty Issue Moves to House Floor
HARRISBURG – In her continuing efforts to ensure that landowners with natural gas leases are treated fairly, Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) today applauded members of the House Finance Committee for advancing legislation to the full House that contains language to further clarify the guaranteed minimum royalty rate.

“Landowners across Pennsylvania and especially in the Northern Tier have been financially penalized for years because natural gas companies have deducted post-production costs from their royalty checks,” Pickett said. “Because the 1979 law guaranteeing minimum royalties was ruled by the Supreme Court to not address horizontal drilling, gas companies have been making significant deductions from royalty checks. This is simply not fair, and our proposal only seeks to restore fairness to the process.”

House Bill 1401, which cleared the House committee on Wednesday afternoon in a bipartisan vote, includes language that mirrors House Bill 577, which simply states that a lease for oil or natural gas shall guarantee a minimum one-eighth (12.5 percent) royalty.

The overall bill would also levy a severance tax at an incremental, market-driven rate based on volume at extraction but keep in place the impact fee that has generates millions in revenue for counties and municipalities along the Northern Tier. The tax would apply to unconventional gas wells that are also subject to the state’s impact fee.

“Historically, I have not been in favor of a natural gas severance tax, but I have seen the industry imposing unfair business practices against hard-working landowners across our area and they’ve not been held accountable,” Pickett said. “I will continue to fight for our landowners, advocating for this legislation to come before the entire House for a vote as quickly as possible.”

Under the legislation, the severance tax would not apply to natural gas used by a lessee or on shallow wells. The tax would also be prohibited from being passed along to the landowner, lease holder or other property owner.

Proceeds would be distributed to the state’s General Fund.

Representative Tina Pickett
110th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
(717) 705-2094 /

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