“Get Politically Active” is an occasional entry that contains a document on a current political issue. It will be one page long and easy to copy. Feel free to email this to contacts who might be interested in this topic. Someone may even want to pass this out at a Town Hall Meeting!
Background: In response to Governor Cuomo’s decision to ban hydrofracking in New York, Rep Reed sponsored a bill that would permit property owners to obtain compensation (sue) when local, State, or Federal government impairs the value of ownership.
Follow this LINK for a one page pdf copy of “What’s Wrong with Compensating Landowners for the Shale Gas?”
The following a comment made by Glenn Wahl, a friend of New NY 23rd on Rep. Tom Reed’s Facebook page. It is printed here with permission of the author.
There are many things wrong with the idea of compensating landowners for their shale gas. First, there has been no devaluation of land values. Landowners who have gas under their land don’t have this value added to their assessment, and now that NY has banned fracking, there won’t be a reassessment devaluing the land. It’s worth just as much now as it was before the ban. Second, the gas is still there- nothing has been taken. So what happens if the government pays these landowners, then down the road NY approves fracking or some other extraction technique, and that gas is removed? Does NYS then get the money from that? Does the landowner? Double-dipping like that is illegal.
What happens when the present landowner who just got paid compensation then sells the land to the new owner? Does the land get sold for less because it had been “taken”, even though it is exactly the same as it was? And do only landowners who had already sold leases get compensation? What about other landowners who were waiting for gas prices to rise? What about landowners who never wanted fracking? Their land still was “devalued” the same amount, according to the warped logic of compensation. It’s not 77,000 landowners (the number of members the Joint Landowners Coalition claims to have), it’s hundreds of times that number. Every landowner would need compensation, even the smallest landowner.
And another complication is that the people who own the land and signed the lease don’t own the gas anyway- the drilling company does once the lease is signed. But when they bought the lease, they knew they were taking a risk- that NY wasn’t open for fracking and might never be. The landowner knew that too.
Do we compensate anyone who makes an investment at a risk, and then loses it?
I have lots of white ash on my land, and I can’t sell it due to the Emerald Ash Borer quarantine. Should I now demand that New York State compensate me for that timber since they enacted the quarantine?
Do we compensate anyone who wants to do something with their property that the law disallows? If I want to collect used tires for $1 each, pile them on my property and burn them to make room for more tires, the law won’t let me. Should I demand compensation for that lost revenue?
I can think of dozens of things that the state has prohibited for the general welfare that have ended up either preventing people from making money, or that have cost people money out of pocket. See how flawed the idea of compensation for the New York State ban on fracking is? It’s impossible to legislate equitably for, and it would be extremely difficult to administer that compensation. People knew they were on shaky ground when they signed leases. They knew NY might never open for fracking.
Funny how the very people who complain about government hand outs now have their hands out.