For Immediate Release – March 7, 2013
Southern Tier Landowners Call on State Elected Officials to Protect Them from Nonconsensual Fracking
State Fracking Rules Would Permit “Compulsory Integration”and Allow for Drilling Under Lands Without Permission from Landowners
Binghamton – Southern Tier landowners gathered today to call on Governor Cuomo and state elected officials to protect their lands and families from the public health and safety dangers of fracking, and state rules that would allow oil and gas companies to conduct fracking under lands without landowner permission. The rules, known as compulsory integration, would give companies free reign to frack anywhere within a designated square mileafter they secure drilling leases for 60 percent of an arbitrary industry-created “spacing unit.”
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a highly controversial method of natural gas extraction that has been directly tied to chemical contamination of ground water sources, air pollution, death of livestock and farm animals, and serious human health problems. It levies these conditions not only residents who permit such activity on their lands, but also on surrounding landowners and residents who have no control over exposure to these risks.
“Many people assume that companies are legally allowed to frack only on properties where they have obtained leases and that if you do not want to allow your property to be used for fracking, you can stop them from doing so. But as the governor knows, this is not the case,” said David Slottje, an attorney and expert on compulsory integration. “State law provides that fracking companies are not limited to using only property they have leased. Indeed, industry proponents concede they might not be able to drill profitably at all unless they were also allowed to invoke compulsory integration so as to be able to use the property of people who have not leased.”
“Dumping toxic chemicals on the surface of the land is a violation of the law. Why should I be expected to quietly allow someone to drill under my land and deposit their toxic poison there instead?” said Kris VanSlyke, a landowner in Sanford, NY. “When fracking through compulsory integration is forced on me, my decision not to participate is ignored.”
While compulsory integration stands as the most objectionable prospect, many landowners stand to lose from fracking regardless. Fracking operations on neighboring properties would lead to reduction in property values, families would be subjected to the impact of intense industrial activity, noise and air pollution, and many other impacts. Fracking far exceeds any reasonable use of residential property, and many landownersstand to be unconsenting victims of the practice.
“Though I have not leased my land for fracking, a well could go up as close as 500 feet from my house. The air pollution from gas flares and the exhaust of thousands of 18-wheel truck trips does not respect property lines,” said John Bijarney, a landowner in the Town of Baker, NY. “I stand to be forced to live in an industrial zone against my will. I won’t be able to sell my home, because who would want to live here?
“My family stands to become unwilling participants in an industrial experiment involving heavy truck traffic outside my front door and carcinogenic chemicals in the land around me. I have already lost one child to cancer,” said Karen Juser, a landowner in the Town of Maine. “On top of this, my property could be subjected to compulsory integration, allowing drilling underneath it. Being forced into fracking is an anti-democratic process.”
The group called on Governor Cuomo and their elected representatives not to allow fracking.
Read more about compulsory integration here: http://www.dcbureau.org/20101207775/natural-resources-news-service/marcellus-shale-the-real-price-of-compulsory-integration-in-new-york.html