FRACKERS AT THE GATE

seigeThere’s an old saying that a man’s home is his castle.  To update that, let’s rephrase to a person’s home is their castle.

The phrase is based on the assumption that a person can do what they want in and with their own home.

While political conservatives bemoan government intrusions into individual rights, and want to shrink the size of government, one would think it would also apply to a person’s home.

Like every rule or assumption there is an exception.   A person’s home in Pennsylvania may soon NOT be their castle in the case of gas drilling.

 CORBETT OPPOSED TO FORCED POOLING

Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett said in April of 2011 he was opposed to “forced pooling.

Speaking at the K&L Gates’ fourth annual Appalachian Basin Oil and Gas Seminar in Green Tree on Tuesday, Mr. Corbett said the required pooling of gas drilling rights, which has been a prominent part of the drilling industry’s wish list and occurs in several other gas-producing states, amounts to the use of eminent domain for private interests.

“It’s private eminent domain. I don’t think that’s right,” Mr. Corbett said in his keynote speech to about 400 people at the daylong seminar. “I was made aware that it’s on the industry’s wish list, but I don’t agree. If I see a bill that contains forced pooling, I won’t sign it.”

Legislation passed in July of this year and SIGNED by Corbett, people having pre-Marcellus craze drilling leases are being forced to frack.  If they refuse or had been previously in negotiation with gas corporations, they are being sued.

Corbett defended the legislation.

The Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO-PA) says the measure could impact people with older contracts that don’t mention pooling or horizontal drilling.

Corbett acknowledged those concerns in a letter to the General Assembly last week.

He defended the measure at a press event today, noting it passed both chambers with overwhelming support.

“We did not see any see anything illegal about the bill at this point in time,” he said. “It’s the people speaking through their General Assembly.”

While the force to frack legislation only applies to people with existing pre-Marcellus craze leases, it is the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent.

 COMPULSORY INTEGRATION

In the fall of 2011, the Shale Gas Roundtable was created to explore natural gas development in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  It claims to include 26 civic leaders from private, nonprofit and public sectors.

Their report, Shale Gas Roundtable: Deliberations, Findings, and Recommendations-2013 was released this month.  I strongly urge you to read it.

Careful to avoid terms like forced pooling or eminent domain, the report calls it Compulsory Integration.

Basing their rational on the recently passed forced to frack legislation, the report states on page 13:

compulsory integration 01More details about forced pooling… oops…. Integration of units is found on page 49.

The frackers are at the gates, and our castles are under assault.

© 2013 by Dory Hippauf

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