On June 3, the West Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that mineral companies must obtain express permission from the surface owners to use their land to reach gas reserves under neighboring properties.
The decision upheld a 2017 Doddridge County Circuit Court ruling against EQT Corporation siding with two Doddridge County residents, Beth Crowder and David Wentz, who had sued the gas company over trespassing on their property to drill. The residents were awarded $190,000 in damages.
EQT appealed that decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court and oral arguments were heard in March.
This ruling counteracts the longstanding property rights laws that state mineral owners may do whatever is “reasonably necessary” to extract natural gas from the ground, regardless of land ownership, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. – By Hannah McAlister