By Bob Weaver

A bill that will affect the royalty payments to tens of thousands of West Virginia's when gas producers drill on their property is expected to be introduced early today as a special session of the WV legislature opens.

Political insiders say Gov. Manchin is offering a trade-off.

He will reportedly support a bill that would allow law enforcement to enter private residences without a search warrant using a "wire," if legislators support his bill to allow gas producers to deduct post-production expenses against royalty holders interests.

The WV Supreme Court ruled the current method of using a "wire" generally to catch drug dealers, was not constitutional without a search warrant.

Few royalty holders are aware of the fast track legislation, which was not made public until last Friday.

Manchin is asking legislators to protect big natural gas and oil drillers from lawsuits like the $404 million suit in Roane County that favored state royalty holders.

The royalty holders claimed they were being ripped off by Chesapeake Energy and other producers.

Manchin's proposal would allow the big firms to charge for post-production costs of getting the natural gas to a pipeline and any preparatory items.

Holders groups have said the "giving away" of royalty gas and water rights held by state residents is the final surrender to the corporate extractors.

The corporations have been deducting post-production expenses from the "sacred" rights long-held by royalty holders in the Mountain State.

Manchin wants to make it legal.

It is unclear who will represent the state's royalty holders at the session, if anyone.

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