Duquesne Law Review


The controversy over ownership of coalbed methane gas has come to the forefront due to its newfound value as an energy source. In the first case directly on point in the nation, U.S. Steel v. Hoge, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court quieted title exclusively in the coalowner based on an interpretation of the coal severance grant using standard legal construction principles. The author examines the background of the controversy and the criticisms leveled against the lower court dispositions of the case, and concludes that this first step towards resolution of the controversy is a tenuous one. This comment concludes that further clarification of the coalowner's exclusive ownership rights is needed to promote the development of coalbed gas.

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