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05/24/2024 10:03 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: February 27, 2023 11:51 AM
From: Representative Joe Webster
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing Plain Language in Oil and Gas Property Contracts

Two years ago, I became aware that many of our constituents are involved in legal disputes regarding oil or gas lease contracts. Some of these disputes involve contracts that were entered into by deceased family members. In many instances, landowners and the oil or gas operators they signed contracts with do not even have a copy of the same contract on file. Furthermore, the two parties often have a completely different understanding regarding certain lease details, the duration of the lease, and which party has primary authority over term extensions, etc. 
Since oil and gas lease contracts are often lengthy and filled with many industry-specific and legal terms, constituents are frequently confused or misled when entering into lease agreements. As elected officials, I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that our constituents are provided with a simplified process that could assist them in making the best decisions possible for their families.  
Therefore, I will be introducing legislation that would provide for plain language in oil and gas property contracts. Under this legislation, oil and gas contracts would have to pass a readability test to ensure that contracts are easy to read and understand. The legislation would also require that industry-specific terms be defined so that landowners may better understand what each term means and how it may affect their contracts. In addition, this legislation would require that contracts be signed in the presence of a notary public. 
Please join me in support of this important legislation to further ensure that Pennsylvania residents are provided with a clear understanding of oil and gas lease agreements.   

Introduced as HB698