WEST virginia Legislature
2018 regular session
House Bill 4437
By Delegates Storch, Fluharty, Zatezalo and Canestraro
[Introduced February 6,
to the Committee on Energy then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §5A-11-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to collecting rents and royalties from leases of public lands; and providing that rents and royalties from leases of the minerals under the state's rivers and streams shall be expended for road paving and maintenance and other stated purposes; and permitting counties that do not have state parks to retain rents and royalties from such leases.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 11. PUBLIC LAND CORPORATION.
§5A-11-3. Public Land Corporation, powers and duties.
(a) The corporation
hereby authorized and empowered to may:
(1) Acquire from any persons or the State Auditor or any local, state or federal agency, by purchase, lease or other agreement, any lands necessary and required for public use;
(2) Acquire by purchase, condemnation, lease or agreement, receive by gifts and devises or exchange, rights-of-way, easements, waters and minerals suitable for public use;
(3) Sell or exchange public lands where it is determined that the sale or exchange of such tract meets any or all of the following disposal criteria:
(A) The tract was acquired for a specific purpose and the tract is no longer required for that or any other state purpose;
(B) Disposal of the tract serves important public objectives including, but not limited to, expansion of communities and economic development which cannot be achieved on lands other than public lands and which clearly outweigh other public objectives and values including, but not limited to, recreation and scenic values which would be served by maintaining the tract in state ownership; or
(C) The tract, because of its location or other characteristics, is difficult and uneconomic to manage as part of the public lands and is not suitable for management by another state department or agency.
(4) Sell, purchase or exchange lands or stumpage for the purpose of consolidating lands under state or federal government administration subject to the disposal criteria specified in subdivision (3) of this subsection;
(5) Negotiate and effect loans or grants from the government of the United States or any agency thereof for acquisition and development of lands as may be authorized by law to be acquired for public use;
(6) Expend the income from the use and development of public lands for the following purposes:
(A) Liquidate obligations incurred in the acquisition, development and administration of lands, until all obligations have been fully discharged;
(B) Purchase, develop, restore and preserve for public use, sites, structures, objects and documents of prehistoric, historical, archaeological, recreational, architectural and cultural significance to the State of West Virginia; and
(C) Obtain grants or matching moneys available from the government of the United States or any of its instrumentalities for prehistoric, historic, archaeological, recreational, architectural and cultural purposes.
(7) Designate lands, to which it has title, for development and administration for the public use including recreation, wildlife stock grazing, agricultural rehabilitation and homesteading or other conservation activities;
(8) Enter into leases as a lessor for the development and extraction of minerals, including coal, oil, gas, sand or gravel except as otherwise circumscribed herein: Provided, That leases for the development and extraction of minerals shall be made in accordance with the provisions of sections five and six of this article. The corporation shall reserve title and ownership to the mineral rights in all cases;
(9) Convey, assign or allot lands to the title or custody of proper departments or other agencies of state government for administration and control within the functions of departments or other agencies as provided by law;
(10) Make proper lands available for the purpose of cooperating with the government of the United States in the relief of unemployment and hardship or for any other public purpose.
(b) There is hereby continued in the State Treasury a
special Public Land Corporation Fund into which shall be paid all proceeds from
public land sales and exchanges and rents, royalties and other payments from
Provided, That all royalties and payments
derived from rivers, streams or public lands acquired or managed by the
Division of Natural Resources pursuant to section seven, article one, chapter
twenty of this code and section two, article five, chapter twenty of this code
shall be retained by the Division of Natural Resources: Provided, however,
That all proceeds, rents, royalties and other payments from land sales,
exchanges and mineral rights leasing for public lands owned, managed or
controlled by the Adjutant General' s Department will be retained in a fund managed by the
Adjutant General in accordance with article six, chapter fifteen of the code: Provided
further, That except as
(1) All rents, royalties and other payments from mineral leases derived from public lands acquired or managed by the Division of Natural Resources pursuant to §20-1-7 and §20-5-2 of this code shall be retained by the Division of Natural Resources: Provided, That all rents, royalties and other payments, from mineral leases derived from public lands acquired or managed by the Division of Natural Resources in counties that do not have a state park, shall be retained by the county in which the mineral lease is in place;
(2) All rents and royalties from mineral leases, entered on or after July 1, 2018, relating to or derived from the rivers and streams of the state shall be deposited into the State Road Fund to be expended for maintenance, contract paving and secondary road maintenance purposes;
(3) All rents and royalties from mineral leases, entered prior to July 1, 2018, relating to or derived from the rivers and streams of the state shall be retained by the Division of Natural Resources;
(4) All payments, other than rents and royalties, from mineral leases respecting the rivers and streams of the state shall be retained by the Division of Natural Resources; and
(5) All rents, royalties and other payments from land sales, exchanges and mineral rights leasing for public lands owned, managed or controlled by the Adjutant General’s Department will be retained in a fund managed by the Adjutant General in accordance with §15-6-1 et seq. of this code.
All free gas, sand, gravel or other natural resources derived from a lease or contract made pursuant to this article will be used to benefit the state agencies, institutions, or departments located on the affected public lands, or for which the corporation was acting or to benefit any state agencies, institutions, or departments having adjacent property. The corporation may acquire public lands from use of the payments made to the fund, along with any interest accruing to the fund. The corporation shall report annually, just prior to the beginning of the regular session of the Legislature, to the finance committees of the Legislature on the financial condition of the special fund. The corporation shall report annually to the Legislature on its public land holdings and all its leases, its financial condition and its operations and shall make such recommendations to the Legislature concerning the acquisition, leasing, development, disposition and use of public lands.
(c) All state agencies, institutions, divisions and departments shall make an inventory of the public lands of the state as may be by law specifically allocated to and used by each and provide to the corporation a list of such public lands and minerals, including their current use, intended use or best use to which lands and minerals may be put: Provided, That the Division of Highways need not provide the inventory of public lands allocated to and used by it, and the Division of Natural Resources need not provide the inventory of rivers, streams and public lands acquired or managed by it. The inventory shall identify those parcels of land which have no present or foreseeable useful purpose to the State of West Virginia. The inventory shall be submitted annually to the corporation by August 1. The corporation shall compile the inventory of all public lands and minerals and report annually to the Legislature by no later than January 1, on its public lands and minerals and the lands and minerals of the other agencies, institutions, divisions or departments of this state which are required to report their holdings to the corporation as set forth in this subsection, and its financial condition and its operations.
(d) Except as otherwise provided by law, when the corporation exercises its powers, the corporation will coordinate with other state agencies, institutions, and departments in order to develop and execute plans to utilize mineral rights which benefit their operations or the operations of any other state agencies, institutions, or departments.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide that the rents and royalties from future mineral leases in respect of the state's rivers and streams shall be dedicated to road maintenance and paving. The bill also permits counties that do not have state parks to retain rents and royalties from such leases.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.