THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 1:41 pm
ABINGDON, Va. (AP) – A federal judge said Thursday he will rule promptly on whether natural gas royalty claims by southwest Virginia landowners will move forward as a series of class-action lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge James P. Jones heard arguments in the cases, saying he was frustrated by how long the claims have been tied up in court.
“I had hoped that over the three years this has been pending, there would be some attempt at settlement that would in some way solve this recognized problem, or that the Virginia legislature … would have solved the issue, but nothing has happened,” Jones said.
The landowners are seeking release of more than $27 million in royalties from state escrow and a full accounting from two Pittsburgh-area energy companies, EQT Production Co. and CNX Gas Co.