PA Landowners File Appeal in Marcellus Shale Ruling

On Tuesday, October 11, 2011 0 comments

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- A Pennsylvania couple has asked the state’s Supreme Court to throw out a lower court’s decision dealing with ownership of natural gas on their land.

John and Mary Butler said in a filing today that the state Superior Court erred when it interpreted state law regarding mineral rights in the Marcellus Shale gas field.

“The Superior Court’s ruling could have a profound impact upon landowners and businesses in Pennsylvania,” the Butlers said in their appeal. They asked the court to uphold a county court verdict that gave them title to the gas.

Two other people had claimed partial ownership of the gas beneath the Butlers’ 244 acres in Susquehanna County. The Superior Court said Sept. 7 there was enough evidence to hold further hearings, saying Pennsylvania law is unclear whether shale gas is a mineral.

Under an 1882 court decision, ownership of oil and gas has to be transferred separately from other minerals. Legal experts said the Superior Court’s decision may cloud the title to other gas leases in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, where exploration companies such as Range Resources Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. have leased millions of acres.

The case is Butler v. Charles Powers Estate, 1795-mda-2010, Superior Court of Pennsylvania.


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