Bradford County commissioners release ‘Pennsylvania Royalty Ripoff’ video

A video commissioned by the Bradford County commissioners to help win passage of House Bill 1391 has been completed, the commissioners announced on Friday.

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko said the video, which is just under 5 minutes long, is “powerful.”

He said that people who have seen the video have given it a thumbs-up. “Everyone I sent it to has come back with a great response,” McLinko said.

The commissioners approved the video on Friday and the video began to be distributed later that day, he said.

The video, which is titled “Pennsylvania Royalty Ripoff,” was produced by the public relations firm Zeppelin Communications of East Aurora, N.Y. It was professionally done, McLinko said.

“We filmed it in two days,” McLinko said.

Bradford County Commissioner Ed Bustin said the video is “pretty good.”

The video includes interviews with landowners from Bradford County whose royalty payments stopped while gas continued to be drawn from underneath their properties.

In the video, the executive director of Animal Care Sanctuary (ACS) in East Smithfield, Joan Smith-Reese, tells how the ACS saw its royalty payments stop and then got a $30,000 bill from the gas company that held the lease.

“Pennsylvania Royalty Ripoff” also includes an interview with Wilmot Township supervisors, who recently passed a resolution demanding that gas production cease on properties where, due to “exorbitantly high” deductions for post-production costs, the royalty payments have been reduced to nothing or nearly nothing.

On Friday, the video was being sent electronically to every state representative and state senator in Pennsylvania, and to members of their staff, McLinko said. They will therefore have a chance to watch the video before the House votes on it on Tuesday.

McLinko said he does not expect the bill to be passed when the House votes on it on Tuesday.

However, the commissioners will continue to fight to address the problem of shrunken or non-existent royalty checks, he said.

“We are not going away whatsoever,” he said.

The video will also be placed “on our Facebook page, and on the county’s website,” Bustin said. It will also be posted on YouTube and sent to township supervisors.

House Bill 1391 would prevent deductions for post-production costs from reducing royalty payments below 12.5 percent.

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