Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 16. Virginia Gas and Oil Act
10/16/2021

§ 45.2-1637. (Effective October 1, 2021) Objections to permits; hearing.

A. Objections to a new permit or permit modification may be filed with the Director by any person having standing as set out in § 45.2-1632. Such objections shall be filed within 15 days of the objecting party's receipt of the notice required by § 45.2-1632. Any person objecting to a permit shall state the reasons for his objections.

B. The only objections to permits or permit modifications that may be raised by a surface owner are:

1. The operations plan for soil erosion and sediment control is not adequate or not effective;

2. Measures in addition to the requirement for a well's water-protection string are necessary to protect freshwater-bearing strata;

3. The permitted work will constitute a hazard to the safety of any person;

4. Location of the coalbed methane well or coalbed methane well pipeline will unreasonably infringe on the surface owner's use of the surface, so long as a reasonable alternative site is available within the unit and granting the objection will not materially impair any right contained in an agreement, valid at the time of the objection, between the surface owner and the operator or their predecessors or successors in interest; and

5. If the surface owner is an interstate park commission, the location of the well or pipeline will unreasonably infringe on the surface owner's use of the surface, so long as a reasonable alternative site is available within the unit and granting the objection will not materially impair any right contained in an agreement, valid at the time of the objection, between the surface owner and the operator or their predecessors or successors in interest.

C. The only objections to permits or permit modifications that may be raised by a royalty owner are that the proposed well work:

1. Directly impinges upon the royalty owner's gas and oil interest;

2. Threatens to violate the objecting royalty owner's property or statutory rights aside from his contractual rights; and

3. Would not adequately prevent the escape of the Commonwealth's gas and oil resources or provide for the accurate measurement of gas and oil production and delivery to the first point to sale.

D. Objections to permits or permit modifications may be raised by a coal owner or operator pursuant to the provisions of §§ 45.2-1611 and 45.2-1612.

E. The only objections to permits or permit modifications that may be raised by a mineral owner are those that could be raised by a coal owner under § 45.2-1611, so long as the mineral owner makes the objection and affirmatively proves that it does in fact apply with equal force to the mineral in question.

F. The only objections to permits or permit modifications that may be raised by a gas storage field operator are those in which the gas storage operator affirmatively proves that the proposed well work will adversely affect the operation of his gas storage field certificated by the State Corporation Commission; however, nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude the owner of nonstorage strata from drilling a well for the purpose of producing oil or gas from any stratum above or below the storage stratum.

G. The Director shall fix a time and place for an informal fact-finding hearing concerning an objection filed pursuant to this section. The hearing shall be scheduled for not less than 20 nor more than 30 days after the objection is filed. The Director shall prepare a notice of the hearing, stating all objections and by whom each is made, and send a copy of such notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least 10 days prior to the hearing date to the permit applicant and to every person with standing to object as prescribed by § 45.2-1632.

H. At the hearing, if the parties fail to come to an agreement, the Director shall proceed to decide the objection pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) relating to informal fact-finding procedures.

1982, c. 347, §§ 45.1-315, 45.1-316, 45.1-317; 1987, c. 452; 1989, c. 529; 1990, c. 92, § 45.1-361.35; 1996, c. 854; 1998, c. 228; 2002, c. 277; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.