Uncut: Time to pay up for mineral rights



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Posted on October 26, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Expect to hear a lot more from homeowners who leased the mineral rights on their property years ago...  and have yet to be paid.

It's this week's Uncut commentary.

I'm usually opposed to people running to the courthouse to sue at the drop of a hat - clogging up the courts - but based on Brett Shipp's report last night, I'm looking forward to seeing some prominent energy companies get dragged before a judge for not paying royalties to which a number of property owners are entitled.

Brett detailed case after case of landowners who didn't even know the wells on their property were producing natural gas -- people yet to receive a dime.

Those companies were tripping all over themselves years ago to sign people to long-term leases with promises of big royalty checks.

Now when property owners call, they're about as easy to find as a $1 gallon of gasoline.

In cases detailed in the story, some companies have either not paid and offered no explanation, or come up with some excuse for why royalties on producing wells shouldn't go to the landowner.

Certainly, property owners should have paid close attention. But you and I know, many are not sufficiently knowledgeable about the energy business to do that. They should have consulted experts, but didn't.

That is why we have the courts, and lawyers eager to make money from companies that don't mind getting their benefit, but don't seem quite as interested in sharing the wealth.

I love free enterprise - believe it the best system there is - but for it to really be successful, we need every investor to share in the benefits, not just the big boys.

Those are my thoughts, tell me yours at jmccaa@wfaa.com.