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Government Relations

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With the development of the Marcellus and Utica shales, the legislative and regulatory environments in West Virginia and Ohio have been dynamic. Attorneys at Robinson and McElwee are experienced with reviewing and drafting legislation, commenting on proposed legislation and rules and appearing before the regulatory community. We are also sensitive to competing industry interests, public perception and media issues, and are prepared to assist our clients with legal representation in coordination with government and media relations.

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All permits for oil and gas wells drilled in West Virginia are issued by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas. Appeals of conventional and horizontally-drilled wells are appealed to the Shallow Gas Well Review Board or the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, while coal bed methane permits are reviewed by the Coal Bed Methane Review Board. In Ohio, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management is the sole and executive authority over the regulation of oil and gas well production statewide. Robinson & McElwee attorneys have experience before the agency and each of these boards, and can effectively advocate in any forum for your interests.

Our experienced oil and gas attorneys counsel and assist our clients with day-to-day legal issues related to operational issues, as well as drafting and review of various agreements such as joint operating agreements, rights-of-way, surface use agreements and other contractual matters. We also assist with transactional matters, including the purchase and sale of oil and gas interests. Robinson & McElwee is a member of ALFA International, a legal network, and we collaborate with our ALFA affiliates in other conventional and unconventional gas fields to provide additional expertise and team-oriented representation of clients where the need arises. Our litigators are also experienced in dealing with operational and transactional disputes over gas imbalances, royalty and pricing, and other corporate-related litigation matters.

Oil and gas operations are seeing increased scrutiny from environmental regulators as a result of drilling activity in West Virginia and Ohio. The US Army Corps of Engineers is giving closer scrutiny to the laying of pipeline near and over jurisdictional waters, and the 2011 Horizontal Well Drilling Act imposed new requirements for the horizontally drilled wells that have come to predominate in the state. Air issues have begun to take center stage in the oil and gas arena. Robinson & McElwee attorneys represented a large gas producer in an air permit appeal that had national implications for the combining of air emissions from well sites for purposes of making major source determinations. In addition, as the federal government increases its regulation and scrutiny of greenhouse gases, greater scrutiny is being given to methane emissions and other greenhouse gases. Robinson & McElwee represents the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association’s Environmental, Safety and Health Committee, and on its behalf has been involved in all aspects of state natural gas regulation. We have commented on and participated in administrative appeals of storm water general permits for the oil and gas industry, worked on air permits for compressor engines and other equipment, and offered advice on a wide range of air, water and waste-related topics.

Robinson & McElwee has represented clients in judicial and administrative proceedings involving a wide variety of issues. We have defended complex contractual and operational disputes, leasehold disputes, and allegations of property and surface damage. We have defended claims of sub-surface contamination allegedly related to conventional and hydraulic fracturing, defended lawsuits claiming flood damages from oil and gas extraction, and a host of other issues. In addition to representing clients before permitting agencies and appeal boards, our attorneys have appeared in state and federal courts in defense of oil and gas operators.

Robinson & McElwee attorneys can handle all aspects of title work, from the simplest to the most complex, in a timely fashion. We employ a team of highly trained and experienced title examiners and title analysts who provide detailed and accurate title opinions and certifications and assist its clients in accurately determining ownership of mineral and leasehold rights, and where necessary, assisting in curative actions. We have issued thousands of title opinions for drilling units and well-site acreage for producers and developers. In addition, Robinson and McElwee’s property and title attorneys have handled numerous property transactions involving hundreds of thousands of acres of mineral interests and all associated aspects of due diligence.

Tax
Robinson & McElwee represents both individuals and businesses before the West Virginia Tax Department. In the area of federal taxation, our attorneys handle petitions before the United States Tax Court, as well as refund suits in federal district court. Members of the Business & Corporate Practice Group have argued numerous cases concerning West Virginia tax matters before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The Business & Corporate lawyers also regularly represent business clients with regard to property tax assessments and appeals. Aside from litigation, the Business & Corporate Practice Group provides planning and guidance in commercial and corporate transactions, including sales of stock, sales of assets, reorganizations and mergers.