We need all the protection we can get
Sadly, I do not believe that this is the message now being communicated to the industry by a relatively small, but publicly vocal group of landowners who presume to speak for all of us. I’m having difficulty understanding how the alliance will be able to function in helping neighbors to look out for one another while any person daring to raise legitimate concerns about the environmental impacts of gas drilling is immediately branded and dismissed as an “anti.”
To be fair, those folks are well within their rights as free Americans to be “pro-drilling,” and they have every right to say so in public. However, many landowners (and many within the alliance) don’t necessarily share this over-simplified point of view. Many were compelled to sign leases out of financial necessity and/or because they didn’t think they had much of a choice. Many are still deeply concerned about the potential impacts to their land, water and communities by an industry that has so far demonstrated a rather poor track record in relation to these concerns.
Landowners who regard government regulations on gas drilling as an unfair infringement of their property rights should be willing to consider the possibility that, when it comes to industrial activities of this magnitude, government regulations represent a necessary set of limitations on that which industry will be allowed to do to us and our properties. My view is that we, as landowners, should be looking for as much protection from the gas industry as we can possibly get.
[Ken Mayers lives in Browndale, PA with his wife Jennifer and their children.]