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Panel Reviews Rep. Thompson's Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act of 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2016 -

Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3881 introduced by Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), the “Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act of 2015.” The bill clarifies and codifies the repeatedly upheld decision by federal courts to protect the rights of private mineral owners in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF).

While the federal government owns the surface rights to ANF, the subsurface mineral rights have always been privately owned – even before the ANF was established. This did not stop the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) from attempting to usurp private property rights and create a new regulatory hoop to restrict energy development in the ANF.

For nearly a century, landowners have joined with the local and federal government to ensure the continued access to private mineral rights and the continued health of our forest.  Despite that partnership, extreme environmental groups attempted to shut down energy production. Federal courts have ruled with the local communities and in favor of private property rights. The Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act will make that ruling law, ensure protection of our local economy and continued access to resources for generations to come,” Thompson said.

Federal courts consistently found the USFS lacked the regulatory authority to impose preconditions to development. Pennsylvania is rich in energy resources, but the burdensome overreach of the federal government has undercut private mineral rights, spurring years of litigation and lost economic opportunities for this region of Pennsylvania.  

In less than a decade, Pennsylvania has become second largest producer of natural gas in the United States behind Texas – and has contributed towards our nation’s renewed status in leading global production.  Unfortunately, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s success also put it directly in the crosshairs of environmental activists focused on banning American energy production in this region and elsewhere,” stated Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO).

H.R. 3881 prevents any future possibility for the Forest Service to infringe upon private property rights by liberally interpreting statutory authority.

The actions of the U.S. Forest Service are emblematic of federal land management throughout the United States. I want to thank Rep. Thompson for this commonsense legislation that protects families and small businesses of Pennsylvania’s 5th district and the broader region who rely upon these resources in their everyday lives,” Full Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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