BY MICHAEL L. OWENS | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER |
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 7:59 pm
ABINGDON, Va. – Two hours of legal debate on Virginia’s natural gas laws passed Thursday when U.S. District Judge James P. Jones suddenly voiced frustration over the seeming inability of anyone to easily access an escrow account holding nearly $30 million in gas royalties.
“Are we going to throw up our hands and say ‘oh well, that’s how the world works?’” he directed at coal and energy company lawyers during a hearing. “All these people don’t get their money in escrow?”
In all, Jones heard three hours of arguments on whether five cases filed against CNX Gas and EQT Production for the royalties on natural gas siphoned from beneath Southwest Virginia can move forward as class-action lawsuits representing more than a thousand landowners. The cases might die without his certification for class action.