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FINAL JLC Declaration of Rights - Copy

FINAL JLC Declaration of Rights - Copy

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Published by Jon Campbell

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Published by: Jon Campbell on May 09, 2012
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05/09/2012

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A Declaration of Landowner Rights
Many New York state residents hold valuable mineral rights, including rights tonatural gas deposits in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. The right todevelop one’s property is beholden to the individual and is a fundamental tenet of rights afforded us under the Constitution. As founding father John Adamsasserted, “No part of the property can, with justice, be taken from him, or appliedto public uses, without his own consent.” The state’s current hold on permits forhigh volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing – a technique used to developnatural gas trapped in shale – has severely restricted the rights of property owners to sell, lease, and profit from mineral ownership. We, as residents, taxpayers, and property owners of New York State, have setforth the following “Declaration of Rights” to reclaim ownership of our property and make our voice heard as New York finalizes a plan for allowing shaledevelopment that protects our environment and benefits our communities.Be it resolved, that all New York property owners have a right to:
 
Timely development of private property
. State officials must pursuethe timely adoption and implementation of sensible development rules.The delays have potentially cost property owners millions of dollars inlease payments and lost income from development of their resourcescontributing to further direct hardship for many families.
 
Reasonable and timely expansion of permitted developmentareas
. Restrictions on development should reflect a sound scientific basisand a legitimate regulatory concern. Natural gas drilling can be conductedin a safe and responsible manner when consistently regulated underguidelines based on sound science. We have confidence that after overfour years of thorough investigation, New York officials will finalizeguidelines that allow permitting of safe development to proceed.
 
A uniform standard for natural gas development
. There must beuniform standards for natural gas development implemented by knowledgeable, trained state regulators. New York’s system cannot bedistorted by a confusing legal patchwork that impedes private property rights, hinders progress and limits viable economic opportunity.Local moratoriums are graying the lines of where and what types of mineral development will be allowed. Legislation has even been proposedthat would allow local municipalities to pass additional regulations
 
 
potentially at odds with state rules. These are not sound governingprinciples and impede positive economic opportunities.Redundant and overlapping authority among local governments, stateofficials, and regional or federal bodies has created a scenario in which theabsence of clear authority reduces the potential for economic benefits.Left unaddressed, the current legal uncertainty in New York will continueto impede safe development and take property rights of landowners.These impediments to reasonable development of private property andeconomic liberties cannot be allowed to stand in direct conflict with ourprotected rights.
 
Right to pursue economic opportunities for all citizens of ourcommunities.
Landowners inherently are the best environmental andeconomic stewards of our assets. We stand for protection of our rights,including the protection our land, its natural resources, the surroundingenvironment and our communities’ interests. It has been proven that jobcreation, not only in gas development, but in a broad array of locally based businesses has followed the safe development of shale gas. Further, thatlandowners can structure agreements under clear regulatory guidelinesthat preserve our property rights, minimize land disruption and protectour air and water.
 
Transparency and disclosure by well operators
. Industry andregulators alike should disclose all information necessary about activity related to our land and minerals to assure and protect the public.For industry, that means continued disclosure of all additives used in thehydraulic fracturing process and the results of water testing near wells, inaccordance with state law.
 
Reasonable protections of our land and water throughflexibility in locating wells and well pads
. Setbacks from waterways, water wells, and flood plains are reasonable environmental considerations.Landowners want to protect their environment and their communities.Limitations must achieve a commercially viable balance and be basedsolely on sound science and best practices that reasonably mitigatepotential impacts. Arbitrary setbacks and excessive regulations serve no public interest.Overly restrictive setbacks amount to a taking of private property rightsand a ban on development. Where setbacks do not halt developmentoutright, they severely limit landowners’ ability to negotiate or dictate thelocation of well pads on their own property. The adoption of any setbacks by state guidelines should include a sunset clause for their expiration aftera reasonable period of time with development occurring free of majorincidents of contamination.

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