Royalty Errors For Forest Drilling: ‘They Usually Haven’t Paid Enough’

Feb 25, 2016

 

A gas rig in the Tiadaghton State Forest. Pennsylvania continues to have problems getting paid properly from gas drilling on public lands.
Credit Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The gas industry’s downturn means Pennsylvania is getting a lot less royalty money from drilling on public forest land. But the state continues to have problems getting paid properly from the activity that’s still happening.

As StateImpact Pennsylvania previously reported, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which manages drilling on public lands, recently hired an in-house auditor to review royalty payments from gas companies.

“We look at the receipts and the data and find discrepancies,” says DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn.

When royalty errors do occur, she says they overwhelmingly favor the gas companies.

“The audit has definitely paid off,” says Dunn. “They usually haven’t paid us enough. If it were just a mistake you’d think half [the companies] would have paid too much and half would have paid too little, but the ‘pay too little’ outranks the ‘pay too much’ by a lot.”

Read more of this report on the site of our partner, StateImpact