- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia House passed a bill allowing some natural gas drilling even when mineral rights owners can’t be found or won’t agree to leases.

After three hours of debate, the House approved the bill Wednesday on a 60-40 vote. The proposal now moves to the Senate.

The so-called forced pooling bill would allow horizontal drilling from those properties when 80 percent of the surrounding mineral owners had worked out drilling agreements.

Some Democrats and tea party members formed an uncommon alliance to oppose the measure. They said it infringes on people’s property rights.

One tea party delegate forced about an hour-long reading of the lengthy bill.

Wednesday was the last to day to pass bills out of at least one chamber. The legislative session ends March 14.



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