GUEST VIEWPOINTWhat about the other 40 percent?
Chenango County Evening Sun, June 26, 2012
David F. Slottje
Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised to decide whether fracking has been proven safe based upon science rather than politics, but he is about to strike a politics-based deal with Sen. Thomas W. Libous to allow fracking to take place in (at least) those places represented by the senator. Libous is deputy majority leader of the Republican-controlled state Senate and an ardent patron of the fracking industry, and the Democratic governor needs the support of the majority leader and his deputy to achieve legislative goals that the governor hopes will burnish his credentials to be president.
Whatever your position on gas drilling, everyone needs to understand that the Cuomo-Libous fracking plan will have a devastating effect on the concept of private property rights for Southern Tier residents.
The compulsory integration law, in the context of shale gas extraction, is nothing short of an unembarrassed, uncompensated transfer of private property rights to the gas industry.
Many people assume that companies are legally allowed to frack only on properties where they have obtained leases and that if you do not want to allow your property to be used for fracking, or haven't yet decided, you can stop them from doing so. But as the governor knows, this is not the case.
State law provides that fracking companies are not limited to using only property they have leased. Indeed, industry proponents concede they might not be able to drill profitably at all unless they were also allowed to invoke compulsory integration so as to be able to use the property of people who have not leased.