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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 15, 2013 04:34 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: Abandonment of Mineral Rights
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation, Senate Bill 1324 of last session, that will amend the Action to Quiet Title Law relating to ‘subsurface rights’.

The legal principle known as an Action to Quiet Title has been an integral part of Pennsylvania law for at least 100 years.

My legislation would provide a surface owner of land with an advantage at the start of a court case where the ownership of mineral or oil and gas rights is unclear or unknown. The advantage proposed is a rebuttable presumption that the subsurface rights have been abandoned in favor of the surface owner after a period of 50 years. These types of cases primarily involve situations where the ownership of the subsurface rights is untraceable or never acknowledged in estate proceedings over multiple generations.

This bill does not change the fact that the plaintiff landowner still must prove his case, in court, by a preponderance of the evidence just as the plaintiff can, and is required, to do today.

This legislation takes nothing away from any subsurface owner, unless that person or entity fails to acknowledge ownership of the subsurface rights in question and does absolutely nothing in a court case. Anyone who has a legitimate interest would need to deliberately ignore all of the notice provisions in order to be negatively impacted.

If you wish to co-sponsor this legislation, please contact Adam Pankake of my office at 7-3280, or apankake@pasen.gov. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB258