A state House panel on Wednesday tweaked a measure that could expand gas drilling on state-owned lands, including on the campuses of the State System of Higher Education colleges.
The proposal from Republican Sen. Don White, which passed the state Senate overwhelmingly last fall, would authorize state officials to lease rights to the oil, gas and coal beneath certain state lands.
The state already has about 600,000 acres of forestland available for gas drilling, but has considered leasing other property, such as land surrounding state prisons.
Under the measure, a state-owned college that hosts a gas well would be allowed to keep 40 percent of royalty payments received from gas drilling, with the remainder to be distributed among the other State System colleges. Any royalties from drilling on those campuses currently would be deposited in state coffers.