While the quote by McElhinney was misleading, at least it is possible. And in WV, at least the owners had, and still have, the free choice to sell their mineral rights. They were not stolen by the government (yet). Up until very recently, people were clueless about the potential value of mineral rights and sold them for various reasons. Now a lot of them, and their heirs, are experiencing seller's remorse. Some of these people are the most outspoken against fracking. No worries, eventually the government will tax all of our property and mineral rights to death anyway.