I have advocated for fundamental fairness when it comes to royalties for local oil and gas leases - especially for persons affected by the Brinker Storage Field here in Columbiana County.
State Rep. Mark Okey, who represents neighboring counties in the Ohio House of Representatives, has recently proposed legislation, HB 493, that would set all future oil and gas royalties at a minimum 15 percent of the gross revenues. This is a positive step forward but it does not go far enough.
Many of our neighbors in this county trapped within the Brinker Field will receive a mind-boggling $200 per year because of lease language that was drafted, in some instances, more than 70 years ago. The legislature must step forward to protect these families from this unconscionable injustice. Minimum royalties must be established for those caught in the Brinker gap.
How can this be accomplished?
One simple way would be to deny drilling permits for any drilling units that include leases that fail to meet the minimum royalty. This would not only bring about fairness, but would also serve to keep more of the proceeds of our valuable natural resources right here benefiting our local economy.
This problem demands swift action. We cannot pass on the opportunity to secure the future of our neighbors. Those locked in the Brinker Storage Field need our immediate support to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
It is my hope that the legislature is listening.