An article in the Sanford Herald this morning highlighting Lee County staff and commissioner and landowner speaking with the State Senate Energy Policy Committee today, February 15th:
For reference, the landowner speaking with this group is co-founder of NC Oil and Gas, which seems to have a home-grown profit-steward motive. Judging by the article, it seems like this group is speaking for support of permitting hydraulic fracturing. Sounds like they also want to see thorough regulations for it to protect water and air, though they leave that unspecified. The numbers that Womack relays in the article regarding a reduction in property taxes are curious: why would fracking reduce property taxes by 25%, why does it sound like that is a good thing? Sales taxes would increase during a high production phase, but how long would such revenue last?
Perhaps strictly coincidental, but Public News Service has a brief story published/aired this morning from Pittsboro expressing concerns about landowners’ readiness for fracking. More specifically, the report question whether landowners in central North Carolina have been taken advantage of with predatory mineral leases.
Reading between the lines of these two pieces is the fact that many landowners in central North Carolina value their property rights, value their water and immediate environment, but would also value the financial ‘bonus’ should a natural gas royalty check land on their table. And given our culture and economy, it seems to me that we should acknowledge that there is a high market-driven incentive to permit natural gas extraction where we safely can. But let’s not pursue those resources to the extent that we divest from alternative options, including changing our own behaviors.