Pennsylvania high court takes appeal on Marcellus gas rights

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a dispute over Marcellus Shale natural-gas rights that could affect thousands of drilling leases in the state.

Pennsylvania landowners John and Mary Butler are challenging an intermediate appeals court ruling that called for scientific opinion on whether Marcellus Shale gas, which is released by the process known as hydraulic fracturing, should be considered a mineral under an 1882 decision of the Supreme Court. In the trial court, the Butlers won their claim to the natural gas rights.

Oral argument before the Supreme Court is probably months away, Greg Krock, an attorney for the Butlers, said today in a phone interview. The court denied a request from the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association to file papers in support of the appeal.

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