Thompson to Introduce Bill Protecting Private Mineral Rights in Allegheny National Forest
Titusville, PA –Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05) today announced plans to introduce the “Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act.” The legislation pertains to the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) and private ownership of mineral rights in national forests across the nation. It would repeal existing statute which allows the U.S. Forest Service to create rules relating to the leasing and permitting of privately-held mineral rights in the ANF. Plans for the legislation were announced at a press conference today near the Drake Well Museum, site of the nation’s first commercial oil well.
"I will be introducing the Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act in the House in the coming weeks,” said Thompson, chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, and a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “Federal courts have ruled that the U.S. Forest Service lacks regulatory authority over privately held mineral rights. This legislation corrects existing law and is consistent with the findings of the courts, which ruled against new federal regulations and further attempts to shut down activity in the Allegheny National Forest," added Thompson.
Thompson was joined at today’s press conference by Kevin Moody, general counsel for the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association.
“I commend Congressman Thompson for authoring this legislation,” Moody said. “Our national forests are not national parks. The oil and gas industry has been an essential part of northwestern Pennsylvania since the drilling of the first oil well in 1859. This legislation would make sure the use of private mineral rights is a cornerstone of our region’s economic future. Workers for close to 100 oil and gas companies depend on drilling in the Allegheny National Forest for their livelihoods. This legislation would give them the security of knowing new regulations could not limit expansion or put them out of work.”
The Allegheny National Forest covers more than 500,000 acres and is located in Elk, Forest, McKean and Warren counties.