Legislation Gives Landowners "Slight Edge" in Court When Mineral Rights Owner Is Unclear

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Originally published in Marcellus Shale Law and Policy Update

Legislation that gives landowners an early edge in court on certain disputes over mineral rights recently cleared the Pennsylvania Senate Environment Resources and Energy Committee.

"This gives the landowner a rebuttal presumption if going back over 50 years, the owner of the mineral rights can’t be determined," said Nick Troutman, who works for Pennsylvania Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, the sponsor of the legislation.

Troutman said Senate Bill 1324 alters the "Action to Quiet Title," which has been law for more than 100 years.

Senator Yaw stated that the bill does not change the fact that the plaintiff landowner still must prove his or her case in court by a preponderance of the evidence just as the plaintiff can, and is required to do, today.

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