A panel of North Carolina state officials approved a proposal Wednesday that would force landowners to sell energy companies the rights to natural gas under their properties, the News & Observer of Raleigh reported.
The proposal, conducted by the Compulsory Pooling Study Group, is nonbinding, but it will bypass consideration by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission, which holds public hearings on issues of environmental and public protection. The proposal is still subject to changes from the state legislature, however, where the News & Observer says it is likely to pass.
Proponents of the recommendation argue it would protect local residents from being uncompensated for gas inadvertantly extracted from their property, and keep nearby property owners from profiting from gas extracted from under their neighbor's land, the News & Observer reported.
The N.C. panel recommended that at least 90 percent of acreage of a drilling area be leased to willing landowners before remaining property owners would be forcibly pooled.
More from the Observer here.