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Fracking firms don’t care about rights

To the Editor:

Here are just a couple thoughts about fracking. My home water supply is spring fed, and I’ve not been too impressed with what I’m reading about local municipal water efforts. All my neighbors are either using spring water or wells. I see no good reason to trade perfectly good spring water for a city water bill based on some pie-in-the-sky fracking company’s promise of free money sitting under ground. Whenever I hear “free money,” I assume someone is trying to con me.

Worse than that is the forced pooling allowed under the new law (General Statutes 113-393. Development of lands as drilling unit by agreement or order of Commission.) If James Womack's Mining and Energy Commission of the DENR lumps me into a drilling unit, then my property rights go out the window. Some landowners around me are my neighbors, but some are out-of-state and out-of-country investors who'll only look at the potential income from drilling versus the loss in property value. 

Forced pooling lets this unelected bureaucrat sell me down the river for what? Maybe a few bucks and legacy of poisoned well water.

So suppose I don't lease and I manage to stay out of a Forced Pooling Drilling Unit. Now my property rights are safe from the DENR Mining and Energy Commission trespass, right? Hardly. 

N.C. General Statute 113-420 gives gas speculators authority to trespass without my permission, to go looking for gas and make undefined “alterations” to the property surface, all with little more than a note in the mail and a company badge. General Statute 40A-3 gives energy companies authority to take my land by eminent domain if they want to build roads or pipes moving their gas across my front lawn.

Some people have convinced their towns and counties to put up legal hurdles between themselves and Womack's DENR robber barons, and it might be a good idea to do the same here before the hills are crawling with gas speculators looking to rip off landowners.

Garrett Lagan