State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) announced a second hearing Tuesday for House Bill (HB) 100, legislation that addresses procedures and rules surrounding the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (DMA). The DMA is the law used to determine owner rights of oil and gas interests in a shale area.

“Ohio’s DMA has a gray area when it comes to which version of the law should be followed and how much research should be conducted before a property is deemed abandoned,” said Rep. Cera. “Property can be in a family for decades when they find out that a previous owner is staking claim to the mineral rights of the property and the resulting financial gain. HB 100 lays the groundwork for a more efficient way for landowners to properly certify their property and oil and gas rights for the future.”

Mineral interests can be designated abandoned if not used by the original owner or their heirs in the last 20 years. In 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the 2006 DMA can be used to determine ownership instead of the original 1989 act. Landowners must file paperwork affirming their claims, and questions often arise as to whether sufficient ‘due diligence’ and research has been conducted by landowners and attorneys in their search to find the heirs of the severed mineral interests.

“Law-abiding citizens, those who followed the old law, are now facing uncertainty and litigations. HB 100 can help end all the confusion by helping the present landowner prove ownership of the property,” added Cera.

Local attorney Richard Yoss was one of four people who traveled to Columbus to provide proponent testimony. Additional proponents included Dale Dietrich, David and Sherrie Stalder and Dana Fularz. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation also provided written testimony in support of the legislation.

The bill currently awaits further hearings before the Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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