Don't Be Fooled or Bullied! | Green Arkansas

Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't Be Fooled or Bullied!

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 11:01 AM

This letter appeared in teh Searcy Daily Citizen yesterday.  I found it worth re-posting here.  The writer, Beverly, has contacted me about her problems before.  She owns a ranch in Arkansas which is being kept up while she lives in Florida.  Her land has been destroyed, large swaths of trees have been cut down and gas companies are running rough-shod over her ranch.  Here is her letter to the editor, a rallying cry for the citizens of Arkansas who, like her, are mad as hell and realizing they don't have to take it any more!

Dear Editor,

People of Arkansas: what's happening? And further, why are we allowing this tragedy to occur?

News of the natural gas phenomenon in our state saturates our media. The virtues of Chesapeake Energy and their subsidiary corporations are extolled as if our state and its people are suffering no repercussions for the newfound interest of the oil and gas industry. They have spent millions of dollars in advertising on our news stations spewing forth their propaganda of their concern for the wellbeing of our state in hopes of blinding our public to their self-indulgent agendas.

Like all private oil and gas companies, as soon as they finish exploiting our lands, confiscating our farms and ranches, draining our “natural state” of her natural resources, they will leave as they came, fast and furious, leaving our once pristine lands covered with the footprints of an indiscriminate giant.

The lands we loved and labored for, having been handed down in many cases by past generations who truly cared for and treated with dignity, will have been used to line the pockets of a private company who only offers little remuneration for the damage they leave.

Arkansas Midstream Gas and other subsidiaries of Chesapeake roar in like lions threatening and intimidating surface owners with eminent domain power - which they swear to withhold as long as the surface owner grants them a right-of-way through the land and in many instances giving the surface owner only a few days to investigate their claims or powers. Do not be fooled or bullied. You have rights!

It seems that many surface owners have caved in to their threats and allowed themselves to become victims, rationalizing their acquiescence to their own powerlessness. Well, Chesapeake, thanks for your submissiveness.

Despite Chesapeake being a privately-owned company, they have manipulated our politicians in the executive branch and the legislative branch who allow Chesapeake the declaration that they are providing a public service in their efforts to gain access to any and all Arkansas lands.

For their own purposes, access is granted or taken through wielding the sword of eminent domain furiously ahead of them. Chesapeake also wields the claim of dominant estate rights, which they leased from mineral owners, a number of which gained or lost their minerals through the failure of our antiquated property laws and insufficient record keeping of our own government and at the hands of unsuspecting property owners or purchasers.

If we think this alleged good will or mineral royalties will go on forever, think again. Historically, oil and gas companies have drained the resources of the land in less than 10 to 15 years and leave as soon as production begins to wane, leaving waste in the wake. Arkansas will be left with ruined pasture lands, dream homes on pristine property left with eyesore wells, valves, pipelines, equipment, frac water ponds and polluted soils and waterways. Many effects of their exploitation will not be evident until many tears and years later.

Do we doubt these words? Spend a little time on the Internet and review the devastation of Texas, Colorado, West Virginia and many other states that were “cared for” by the oil and gas companies. Hiding your head in the sand does nothing to demand the accountability of these companies, the windfall for the few does not justify the losses suffered by the many. Our land cannot be replaced.

If any reader of this letter has suffered at the hands of oil and gas companies, isn't it time to fight back, protect yourselves, learn your rights and demand accountability from this industry? Do you still believe we as Americans have private property rights?

Call your state representatives and senators, many of whom accepted campaign contributions from these companies.

Beverly Strain

New Port Richey, Fla.

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