Thoughts on compulsory pooling and conflicts of interest

Much has already been commented on the founder of NC Oil and Gas being appointed to the MEC in the seat reserved for an environmental perspective, but I want to add my own perspective. Dr. Covington fills a seat that could have gone to one of a number of environmental experts we have in the state: take your pick of environmental scientists and researchers here in the Triangle. For someone who has a real estate license to be seated in that position triggers a lot of scrutiny, and rightfully so. His chairing the compulsory pooling group only adds to the suspicious appointment. And now, the Statement of Economic Interests of the MEC members have been published and Covington lists his role with NC Oil and Gas as one to educate and advise landowners in response to predatory landmen.

A look over the NC Oil and Gas website, where “local landowners [are] partnering with local landowners,” Covington’s statements are all fair. He has a point that should shale gas be developed, there should be a group of locals to represent the full range of their interests. But a landman is not a property owner’s friend, and their introduction on the website sure sounds like they’re landmen. Again, on their website they cite that a last line of protection for a property owner is in the mineral lease, something that RAFI and Humphrey stated at the Compulsory Pooling Study Group meeting on January 11th. The founders of NC Oil and Gas are not listed as registered landmen, so they’re not actually serving landowners in that role. Then what is that group doing?

Personally, I am concerned that as head of the study group he is wishing to bring in perspectives of the American Petroleum Institute to have industry perspective, but not include perspectives of mortgage lenders, real estate appraisers, and additional perspectives on takings law (though props to the NC Attorney General’s office Consumer Protection division for being part of this group). The industry perspective is predictable: pool leases together around the highest concentration of resources so drilling operation can get the most resources out for the least expense put in, and oh, yeah, this is of interest to property owners because the less drilling we do, the more it isolates the risk (on the surface). This study group really needs to examine a lot of issues in a short amount of time: I believe they are expected to have recommendations to the MEC in October (this deadline needs to be double-checked).

There is one more perspective that needs to be shared on this subject. After attending the two different study group meetings, I get a sense of weariness on the people’s part, and it’s not a weariness about water contamination. I sensed a strong feeling among people that they’ve been mislead, that the financial security natural gas development will bring was oversold, that the impacts on their property value was understated, and their rights as property owners are alarmingly compromised with this industry. That weariness needs to be voiced just loudly as those expressing concern about water contamination are expressing their concerns. A lot more to come on this.



5 thoughts on “Thoughts on compulsory pooling and conflicts of interest

  1. Terica Luxton

    Great article , In my heart I have to believe if we wake the people up to the lies they will speak up.The people of NC has been left in the dark . Told like slaves verses landowner to just listen and not speak or question the masters . Well NC people are waking up and they Will speak up and they will stand . We will be at their workshops ,meetings and demand to be heard as Educated taxpayers and landowners . MEC has not probably posted the meeting to inform the public , no media announcements yet we are finding out and coming . We will get our own answers ,If they will not give it. For the 1 question we all ask “Can It Really Honestly be done safely and still save our tourism and Agriculture that is our state’s money makers ?” Their next workshop in Sanford is on Feb8th McSwain Center, Tramway Rd ,Sanford, NC time 9AM- 11 on a Friday ,covering Compulsary Pooling . They have told the public to submit questions at this meeting and they May or May Not address them at the Next meeting!

    For this reason We the People have scheduled our own meeting, Compulsary/Forced Pooling Discussion for NC Landowners /residents .Tues, February 12, 6pm – 10pm Lee County Courthouse , 1408 S Horner Blvd , Sanford NC .Brought together by Ed Harris of Stand your ground NC against fracking (on facebook) and other concerned residents of NC.
    Please come by Ed’s page and sign up for the event if you like or just for more info .

  2. Patricia Gonzales

    It’s time for ALL LANDOWNERS to show they have a backbone and a voice and a mind of their own. And they know what they want. Their land, their families, their environment, their State protected from being destroyed only because a few $$$$$ hungry want to beef up their bank accounts at the expense, and off the blood, sweat and tears of the Land Owner that have worked hard and saved hard for what they have and want to pass down to their families. They want to leave their future generations land BEAUTIFUL land, trees, places to fish, hunt, places for the children to play in safely with out being sick and dieing from the POISIONS pumped in to the earth. What is the beauty of taking your children or grand and great-grandchildren to see dead forests, no clean water for them to swim in, no grass to play in. NO CLEAN AIR TO BREATH.

  3. Jeanne Caruth Rhea

    Once again today, the notice came out in the paper about the meeting in Pittsboro. Just how hard would it be for the notice to go into the newspaper the day BEFORE the meeting. I think they should be required to publish a notice three days prior.

  4. rgt7670 Post author

    Jeanne – you can always check on the MEC website, hit the “Agendas” button on the menu in the left hand column, and then scroll down to which committee or study group in which you’re interested. In several cases, the agenda itself is not yet posted, but the next date of the meeting is as long as it has been scheduled. It’s not the most user-friendly, but it is there.


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