West Virginia justice blasts ruling on gas royalties

By The Associated Press

A justice on West Virginia's highest court has issued a blistering rebuke to the other four jurists who ruled that natural gas companies can deduct post-production costs from the royalties paid to landowners for mineral rights.

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A justice on West Virginia's highest court has issued a blistering rebuke to the other four jurists who ruled that natural gas companies can deduct post-production costs from the royalties paid to landowners for mineral rights.

Justice Robin Jean Davis' dissent, released Monday, says there was no basis in law for the court even to grant a rehearing to Pittsburgh-based EQT Production Co. or reverse the court's November ruling against deductions.

The Supreme Court's 4-1 decision Friday was written by Chief Justice Allen Loughry with Justices Menis Ketchum and recently elected Elizabeth Walker concurring.

Justice Margaret Workman agreed adding deductions shouldn't abuse landowners.

A 1982 state law set minimum royalties of 12.5 percent of gas produced at the wellhead.

Davis says the majority "used legal sophistry to fool only itself."

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