WRITE ON: Reed’s Defense of Property Act and Real Estate Values

This commentary was written by Michael J. Fitzgerald, who has been a magazine and newspaper journalist for nearly 40 years. He lives around Seneca Lake and writes a weekly column which is published in the Finger Lakes Times on Fridays. He is involved with “We Are Seneca Lake“, an organization that is working to stop the storage of LPG in the salt caverns  near Seneca Lake, and emceed the We Are Seneca Lake rally  on January 31. He has also written a novel, The Fracking Wars.

This article was published on February 6, and is republished with the permission of both the author and the Finger Lakes Times.

no-lpg-babyNew York Congressman Tom Reed has been simultaneously trying to calm the fears — and stoke the fires — of hydrofracking advocates ever since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in December the state won’t allow use of that gas extraction technology.

Then Reed introduced the federal “Defense of Property Rights Act” in late January, a bill that hydrofracking proponents are waving around as enthusiastically as if it is a latter-day Magna Carta.

“The bill would defend private property rights by providing an option for compensation on behalf of those unfairly harmed by government action,” Reed’s office says.

“Far too often private property owners are left on the sidelines while local, state and federal governments make decisions for them on what they can and cannot do with their property. This is not right; it is not fair; and it is not the American way.”

Reed’s placating paean aimed at his pro-gas constituents and donors seems to be reasonable on one level. But when you unwrap the American flag draped around it, it’s clear this bill is simply aimed at getting compensation for New York land owners who sought to cash in on hydrofracking, but now can’t.

If this bill ever made it into federal law, what a national regulatory nightmare. It suggests any rules or laws that could be considered a restraint on a property owner could be overturned in a judicial blink — and require compensation paid by taxpayers to boot.

Who would have thought Tom Reed was a closet libertarian?

The chances of the “Defense of Property Rights Act” getting any traction in any congressional committee is remote at best, probably why the publicity about it is mostly limited to pro-hydrofracking websites and energy company-sponsored newsletters.

But Reed is right about one thing.
A debate about property owners’ rights and property values is long overdue when it comes to the wild expansion of energy company facilities across the nation and in the Finger Lakes.

At the south end of Seneca Lake, a liquid propane gas storage proposal by the Crestwood Corporation has been the target of critics because of its potential for catastrophe, negative impacts on the region’s burgeoning tourist industry and the unwelcome industrialization that would be part of the Texas company’s plans.

But virtually no public discussion has taken place about the impact it would have on private property values, resale or costs of insurance.

Finger Lakes real estate agents are understandably reluctant to comment publicly on the topic.

But when an explosion last week of about 1,500 gallons of LPG leveled a hospital in Mexico City, killing several people and injuring many others, the potential local danger became very real.

Since then, gas storage critics have publicly compared the numbers between Mexico’s tragedy and Crestwood’s plan to store 88 million gallons of LPG in unlined salt caverns on the sloping shore of Seneca Lake.

Even a single railroad tank car carrying propane to the proposed Town of Reading site will have 20 times more LPG in it than the propane spilled in the Mexico explosion.

Twenty times.
And there will be many LPG railcars dropping off propane at Crestwood every day.

It’s doubtful that Rep. Reed would be eager to sponsor a bill to ensure homeowners receive compensation if energy company’s facilities are responsible for a decline in their property values, whether in the Finger Lakes or anywhere else.

But perhaps constituents should contact Reed anyway. They could see if they get the same level of prompt legislative attention as landowners who can’t cash in on the hydrofracking bonanza.


About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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78 Responses to WRITE ON: Reed’s Defense of Property Act and Real Estate Values

  1. The article isn’t about methane though so the comments have strayed from the point.


  2. Deb Meeker says:

    Thanks, now I know you aren’t a bot. What is your interest concerning LNG storage on Seneca Lake and/or Tom Reed’s use of an ALEC manufactured piece of legislation? Those are what the article is about. Do you have financial interests in that area? Do you actually have an opinion about the article’s points (since most of your original comments were to defend Mr.Crea)?


  3. My original comment was in regards to the railroad and the cars so actually my statement was in regards to the article but with all the other nonsense methane and ethics I am sure it was easy to miss.


  4. Deb Meeker says:

    Right, so now can you answer my questions?


  5. I did. The other questions are irrelevant to the article.


  6. To clarify, when I say irrelevant is that my interest, personal and or financially, are of no one’s concerns. That is NOT what the article is about.


  7. BOB McGILL says:

    when was the last time you checked ?——-www.nyradon.org/‎

    go to the map


  8. BOB McGILL says:

    ” Sep 30, 2012 … Andrew M. Cuomo, once poised to approve hydraulic fracturing in several …
    including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime environmental activist in New York ….
    Joseph Martens, the agency’s commissioner, said last week: …”
    ” The developments have created a sense in Albany that Mr. Cuomo is consigning fracking to oblivion. The governor has been influenced by the unshakable opposition from a corps of environmentalists and celebrity activists who are concerned about the safety of the water supply. The opponents include a number of people close to the governor, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime environmental activist in New York whose sister is the governor’s ex-wife. “


  9. BOB McGILL says:

    well maybe not the Rockefellers just the Kennedys 😛
    The developments have created a sense in Albany that Mr. Cuomo is consigning fracking to oblivion. The governor has been influenced by the unshakable opposition from a corps of environmentalists and celebrity activists who are concerned about the safety of the water supply. The opponents include a number of people close to the governor, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime environmental activist in New York whose sister is the governor’s ex-wife.


  10. BOB McGILL says:

    went to the bank to see about a loan for some farm land. they told me that a group of people from California was buying up lots of it. FIGHT THAT GIANT :-p


  11. BOB McGILL says:

    LOOK THIS GUY UP ” Joseph Martens,” he’s the hand picked DEC chief.


  12. BOB McGILL says:

    📰Posted on CMK in the News by Catskill Mountainkeeper · April 26, 2013 6:13 AM
    More Groups Call for Fracking Review to be Scrapped
    Politics on the Hudson (blog) – ‎April 26, 2013

    Others who signed on to the call to throw out the DEC’s review included Catskill Mountainkeeper (a group that was co-founded by current DEC commissioner Joseph Martens), Citizens Campaign for the Environment and Riverkeeper, among others.


  13. BOB McGILL says:

    you mean ” CAN’T READ ” pstew replied ” Is that what you mean when you stated “Penn Yan’s sewage treatment plant does more damage”? but I never said that . I said Keuka Outlet was a huge source of pollution, and asked if Penn Yan’s sewage plant was in violation like Watkins Glenn’s.


  14. solodm says:

    It was not relevant to the article that you defended Mr. Crea’s reasons for offering his unlicensed opinion either, yet you did. To be coy doesn’t bring much to the table or make one’s opinion of much value.


  15. To attack a person based on an opinion doesn’t hold much weight for the attacker in regards to their opinion 😉 Answering questions in regards to personal information is no one’s business and offers nothing but enables folks who don’t have a reasonable response to attack another person. Nice try though.


  16. Deb Meeker says:

    Ms. Dillon, I don’t remember “attacking” you at all. However, your comment: “His ethics have NOTHING to do with the article! So these comments are irrelevant.” might have been construed as an attack on the author. And, “How do you know he doesn’t have one for NY? You don’t know the reason why he used that title. It may have been used to present that he has knowledge of the situation. Seems to me that you are trying to attack Mr.Create and that is not what the article is about.” Could be construed as calling someone else out for what you do yourself.
    You just can’t have it both ways. 🙂


  17. Did I say you did? You can misconstrue anything you wish. Call me coy, call me an atracker, call me whatever you feel fits. This is just more nonsense to add to the rest of the off topic nonsense comments on this page.


  18. And another thing Ms. Meeker, I asked for facts not personal information. You want facts, I will be more than happy to answer your question pertaining to the article if I can.


  19. Teppco is right across the street so they are within a 2 mile radius. I believe all of them are considered hubs of the northeast.


  20. solodm says:

    Thank you for your offer, but without knowing your expertise on this topic, I can’t imagine why I would ask you for information I’m quite capable of finding for myself. One’s opinion is always welcome here I’m told. There is usually a generous amount of cutting and pasting ( as anyone can do ) but rarely do experts contribute to the conversation.

    If you work for a natural gas company, or Tom Reed, and do not disclose those facts, that’s not “personal”, that’s relevant. At least Mr. Crea does have background in the field, and disclosed who he is. If you are not an expert, or have nothing to add besides cut and paste – that’s fine, but to dismiss a researched article, or nit pick other’s disagreements with out of date licences – *that* is what is irrelevant.
    If you are concerned citizen, but have no background in the topic, that’s fine too, however, just bringing snarky comments to the table, is not relevant either.


  21. I don’t know your expertise either but that has not dissuaded you from pointing out the fact you do not like it when someone defends another person. And your oil articles you keep pointing to does not change the fact dangerous material is transported on these railrods. If I were to dismiss the article I would not have pointed out the fact that the research done in regards to how many cars (which is 7 a day ) is not many when considering how many cars a train can pull and how many times they travel in a day. If you feel this is being snarky That is your prerogative. I suppose you can add that to the list of everything else I’ve been called. I have no financial ties to either gas or Reed not that it would make any difference if I did. And if you had read the comments you would have seen that I already stated those disagreements were irrelevant to the article.


  22. solodm says:

    “Seems to me like someone is trying to make mountains out of mole hills with this article.”
    Would that person be you? Go ahead and have the last word, Ms. Dillon, I’ve lost interest in trying to communicate with you.


  23. Yes I said that in regards to the MANY that was implied by the article. If you had read the whole comment not just the first sentence you would have noticed that. I am happy you have lost interest in communicating because so far all I have seen that you want to discuss is my character. The only thing in regards to the article you can argue about is my opinion on one sentence. Good day to you.


  24. solodm says:

    By the way, Ms.Dillon – your comments at the end of this article speak volumes about your opinions concerning this issue:


  25. I am sure if you do more searching you can easily find more. Off track yet again. You want to discuss my opinions on different articles take it there but as old as that one is I doubt that I would see your comments. Good day to you.


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