Pursuant to state’s constitutions of 1869 and 1876, under current Texas law, mineral rights can be severed from the surface rights and sold and transferred as a separate unit. The severance generally occurs in one of two ways: Either the landowner sells the minerals and retains the surface, or more commonly, the landowner sells the surface and retains the minerals. In any case, mineral rights supersede property rights under state law.
Mineral right owners can lease the rights to explore for and extract minerals to oil and gas companies, who are referred to as the mineral lessee. To explore, drill and extract, the mineral lessee must have access to the property. The lessee is required to give notice in writing to the surface owner before beginning work, but there is no legal obligation for the mineral lessee to obtain permission before entering a property to which it has exploration and drilling rights.
Mineral lessees do not have to pay property owners for use of land .Because mineral rights supersede property rights, mineral lessees can use as much surface land as is "reasonably necessary" to explore for, drill and extract minerals. Land preparation might include clearing trees, fences and pastures so that drilling rigs and other equipment can be brought to the site and erected. No responsibility exists for restoring the surface or for paying surface damages. Texas law does not require a mineral lessee to pay damages for loss of use of the drilling and extraction site or for damages caused to fences, hay pastures or trees during the exploration, drilling or extraction processes as long as the damage is considered "reasonably necessary" and the lessee does not behave "negligently".
An individual mineral owner may retain said minerals for a lifetime, and may then pass them on to their heirs and assigns. Save and except purchase by Deed appropriately filed, Mineral rights never revert back to property owner and never become conjoined with surface rights. If mineral owner does not have heirs and assigns in which to convey mineral rights, said mineral rights escheat to the State.
A property owner (surface owner) is required by law to pay taxes each year on said property, however, no such taxation exist on minerals owned separately. A property owner may pay taxes for sixty years, his heirs and assigns may pay taxes on that same property for another sixty years, yet a mineral owner can lease to an oil/gas company for exploration, drilling and extraction, and the property owner has absolutely no right to deny or delay occupation, exploration, drilling, and extraction of minerals from that property. His property, his home, on which he has paid taxes for a lifetime, built a house, built roads, developed a water system, built a stock pond, developed pastures, built fences, planted and cultivated a hay meadow and grazes cattle can fall under the control of the mineral owner.
We, the undersigned, contend that it is unjust and should be unlawful that the rights of the mineral owner supersedes the rights of the surface owner.
We, the undersigned, contend that it is unconstitutional and therefore unlawful, that property owners are taxed on a property but have no representation in the opposition to the occupation, exploration, drilling, and extraction which occurs upon the property pursuant to mineral owner leasing to oil/gas companies. It is in every sense of the word, taxation without representation.
We, the undersigned, contend that it is unjust and should be unlawful that surface owners have absolutely no voice and no recourse if occupation, exploration, drilling and extraction of minerals from land by oil companies, destroys, defiles, and interrupts the quiet enjoyment of the land for which he has so valiantly fought to protect, worked to maintain, and prayed to retain….his home. This is not an investment property. This is not a business venture….this land is his life….his home; A home whose value is immeasurable; A home whose cost was not merely monetary, but literally blood, sweat and tears and countless sleepless nights.
We, the undersigned, contend that minerals are a part of the land and should not be separated from it.
We, the undersigned, hereby seek and demand legislation returning all mineral rights to property (surface) owners and deem the two inseparable forever after.