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Pub.L. 105-368 To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve benefits and services ...
<DOC> [[Page 112 STAT. 3313]] Public Law 105-367 105th Congress An Act To protect the sanctity of contracts and leases entered into by surface patent holders with respect to coalbed methane gas. <<NOTE: Nov. 10, 1998 - [S. 2500]>> Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 30 USC 81 note.>> PROTECTION OF SANCTITY OF CONTRACTS AND LEASES OF SURFACE PATENT HOLDERS WITH RESPECT TO COALBED METHANE GAS. (a) In General.--Subject to subsection (b), the United States shall recognize as not infringing upon any ownership rights of the United States to coalbed methane any-- (1) contract or lease covering any land that was conveyed by the United States under the Act entitled ``An Act for the protection of surface rights of entrymen'', approved March 3, 1909 (30 U.S.C. 81), or the Act entitled ``An Act to provide for agricultural entries on coal lands'', approved June 22, 1910 (30 U.S.C. 83 et seq.), that was-- (A) entered into by a person who has title to said land derived under said Acts, and (B) that conveys rights to explore for, extract, and sell coalbed methane from said land; or (2) coalbed methane production from the lands described in subsection (a)(1) by a person who has title to said land and who, on or before the date of enactment of this Act, has filed an application with the State oil and gas regulating agency for a permit to drill an oil and gas well to a completion target located in a coal formation. (b) Application.--Subsection (a)-- (1) shall apply only to a valid contract or lease described in subsection (a) that is in effect on the date of enactment of this Act; (2) shall not otherwise change the terms or conditions of, or affect the rights or obligations of any person under such a contract or lease; (3) shall apply only to land with respect to which the United States is the owner of coal reserved to the United States in a patent issued under the Act of March 3, 1909 (30 U.S.C. 81), or the Act of June 22, 1910 (30 U.S.C. 83 et seq.), the position of the United States as the owner of the coal not having passed to a third party by deed, patent or other conveyance by the United States; (4) shall not apply to any interest in coal or land conveyed, restored, or transferred by the United States to a federally recognized Indian tribe, including any conveyance, restoration, [[Page 112 STAT. 3314]] or transfer made pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act, June 18, 1934 (c. 576, 48 Stat. 984, as amended); the Act of June 28, 1938 (c. 776, 52 Stat. 1209 as implemented by the order of September 14, 1938, 3 Fed. Reg. 1425); and including the area described in section 3 of Public Law 98-290; or any executive order; (5) shall not be construed to constitute a waiver of any rights of the United States with respect to coalbed methane production that is not subject to subsection (a); and (6) shall not limit the right of any person who entered into a contract or lease before the date of enactment of this Act, or enters into a contract or lease on or after the date of enactment of this Act, for coal owned by the United States, to mine and remove the coal and to release coalbed methane without liability to any person referred to in subsection (a)(1)(A) or (a)(2). Approved November 10, 1998. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2500: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- SENATE REPORTS: No. 105-408 (Comm. on Energy and Natural Resources). CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 144 (1998): Oct. 9, considered and passed Senate. Oct. 15, considered and passed House. <all>
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