belmontcounty

Mineral, surface rights don’t rejoin automatically

A widely assumed interpretation of the Dormant Mineral Rights Act was clarified by the Ohio Supreme Court in September.

“A lot of people had thought under a former version of the statute that when their oil and gas rights and surface rights were separated they could be automatically re-joined under that statute’s conditions,” said Leah Curtis, Ohio Farm Bureau director of agricultural law. “The Supreme Court has said that is not true, and instead that former law created a legal cause of action to unify surface and mineral rights.”
Historically, some landowners have sold the surface of their land, but retained their mineral rights underneath. It has been made clear by the Supreme Court that those who wish to bring their surface and mineral rights back together will have to use legal means to do so, she said.

“They will have to go through a more elaborate procedure for that and will more than likely need to retain legal counsel,” Curtis said.

Ohio Farm Bureau can help members through the process. Landowners wishing to take steps to bring their surface and mineral rights back into legal alignment are encouraged to contact Curtis at lcurtis@ofbf.org or Dale Arnold, OFBF’s director of energy, utility and local government policy at darnold@ofbf.org to help point them in the right direction and find someone to help through the legal process.

 

Kelli Milligan Stammen is director of publications for the Ohio Farm Bureau.