Fracking Will Happen, with or without Landowners’ Consent

North Carolina residents are learning that their property rights are secondary when profits for the gas companies are at stake. A state-commissioned panel has decided that citizens may be forced to allow fracking to occur under their homes.

After geologists found that it is extremely likely that the Deep River Basin of North Carolina contains hundreds of billions of cubic feet of natural gas, the state established a panel to determine what path it should take. One of the questions it had to answer was a problem that arises across the country in similar drilling situations: what should the state do if people don’t want fracking to occur on their land?

The answer was firm: some North Carolinians are going to have to accept it whether they like it or not. Though the commission “recommends” getting approval from 90% of affected landowners, one report suggests that a simple majority will be all that’s required to start drilling. It’s some swift and shady action from a state that, if you’ll recall, only legalized fracking after an accidental vote.

“We’re talking about a for-profit industry taking away personal freedoms with the blessing of the government,” said Therese Vick, a community member who tried to sway the commission to make a different decision.

When asked whether he thought it was fair to force people from their property for the sake of fracking, the commission’s chair Jim Womack responded with an unequivocal “yes.” Notably, Womack was an outspoken advocate for fracking before being selected by the state to head the exploratory committee, so there’s not much surprise that this decision was the one he ultimately reached.

The commission argues that even those who are forced from their homes would benefit from the decision, as they stand to collect a percentage of the profits of all gas mined under their land.

While the money may look appealing to some, other communities have learned firsthand that the consequences of fracking don’t remain underground. Not only is the water supply often contaminated, but health and respiratory problems become commonplace among residents. They money earned from gas companies no longer seems as impressive when families’ property values and quality of life takes a complete dive.

Nonetheless, the state legislature is likely to approve the committee’s recommendations this fall. Additionally, Governor Pat McCrory supports the plan for fracking in his state, declaring that the process would add jobs to the state and help the United States to develop energy independence.

Unfortunately, compulsory sales to gas companies are not unique to North Carolina. Ohio has an “unofficial” policy that requires 90% of residents to sell their land to drillers before the other 10% are forced to “consent” as well. In other states, the number can be much lower. Kentucky requires a simple majority to permit fracking, while Virginia has a frighteningly undemocratic 25% approval rate before fracking may occur under the other 75%’s neighboring land.

Photo Credit: Greensefa


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Francesca Ashmore
Francesca A5 years ago

this is shocking - I had no idea about fracking til now. Thank you

Barbara D.
Past Member 5 years ago

Royalties paid to Tri-County lessors from 1 Sept, 2007 to 1 Sept. 2013 (541 lessors):


55 | over 5 million dollars
65 | 4 to 5 million dollars
91 | 3 to 4 million dollars
151 | 2 to 3 million dollars
303 | 1 to 2 million dollars
277 | 1/2 to 1 million dollars
1026 | less then 1/2 million dollars

Barbara D.
Past Member 5 years ago

It's logical or it's rational. It can't be logically irrational or illogically rational or rationally illogical or irrationally logical.
Rationality references reason, sanity, lucidity. Logic is the science of investigating the principles that govern inference.

Barbara D.
Past Member 5 years ago

Cletus, did you take a little vacation so you could build up a new head of steam?? Seriously, why are you such an angry person?
Well-known facts? Drivel from ideological, left wing, earthy crunchy, enviromaniacal, green, unbiased, paid, amateur websites? Have you ever seen one of your reliable sources give any proof of their irrational and fanciful claims? Have you ever researched the media front groups that publish whatever someone pays them to? Have you ever read any of the disclaimers that absolve them from any responsibility for printing the *erroneous or deliberate misinformation*
that may be contained in their client's articles?
What you believe to be facts are what the coal, wood, and crude oil producers and industries would have you believe and what they pay to broadcast to the "appropriate interested readers*.
BTW, no one ever brought up the natural gas industry until you brought it up just now.
If you think considering my word for the actualities of living in one of the largest fracking areas in the country is sophomorically moronic and believing *well known facts* isn't..........
Sorry, didn't have room for...hypocrisy...irrational...rosey...or droid.
And LAME?? Well, Cletus, THAT is LAME!

Cletus W.
Cletus W.5 years ago

Hypocrisy is a familiar calling card for the intellectually challenged. And so it is here with David F. and Barbara D. who complain bitterly that I provided no references to well-known facts about fracking's problems or to back up my own accurate criticism of their abjectly LAME and logically irrational claims of fanciful benefits of fracking.

First, I don't need reference material to point out obviously biased drivel from an ideological rag, or to point out the obviously sophomoric misuse of figures and statistics concerning overall natural gas production to paint an overly rosey picture of the benefits of just one component of that industry, i.e. fracking.

If these two industry droids are SO, SO worried about referencing facts, why haven't THEY backed up any of their fanciful statements with supportive information from UNBIASED sources? Hypocrisy. They spew utter nonsense like fracking's benefit to millions of poor people and nonsense like how people in PA are turning into millionaires over the tax-cuts due to fracking.....which obviously has no rational backing, and then complain that there is no documentation to refute their fantasies???!!!

Rightwing morons need to grow up, and get a grip!!

Barbara D.
Past Member 5 years ago

Just for clarification, because I know you've been told that fracking fluid could contain any of hundreds of toxic chemicals ~ it doesn't and it doesn't need to contain any toxic chemicals. It's composed of water, methanol, and sometimes grit, which is injected under very high pressure into the shale beds to *fracture* the rock allowing access to natural gas pockets. Methanol is a naturally produced substance present in the environment which is 100% biodegradable and poses no risks. It's even used in city water waste treatment plants to remove nitrates.

Barbara D.
Past Member 5 years ago

Margaret, the thing is, fracking doesn't replace ground water with chemically polluted water.
The water table where wells draw our water is generally at 400-600ft. Fracking is done at 1000 ft and fracking fluids are withdrawn, transported, and disposed of by wastewater disposal wells thousands of feet deep.
The PASA has a couple thousand members, farmers who are anti-fracking. The tens of thousands of other farmers throughout the state, including ALL the dairy farmers in NEPA, have no objection to fracking. In fact, most of our farms have wells dotting the pastures where we graze our stock.

Donna Ferguson
Donna F5 years ago

fracking=sad and foolish. another part of humanity destroying the earth. I wonder what the tipping point will be, and when it will come. sad and foolish

Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne B5 years ago

thanks for sharing :)