Fracking seems to be everywhere. I hear that property owners have rights, that property owners have the right to develop their land as they choose. But I ask, do their neighbors have rights?
Do they (if they own their mineral rights) have the right to say no to a lease? Have you heard of forced pooling? Forced pooling would force a landowner to sign a lease if so many around him have also signed.
Whether or not you own your mineral rights, do you as a property owner have rights?
We are property owners. Do we have the right to enjoy our own property? Do we have a right to peace and quiet?
Do we have the right to sleep soundly at night? Do we have the right to expect it to be dark at night?
When I bought my home, I did not plan to have a nearby field lit up like Kennywood.
Do we have the right to sit on our porch or have our children play outside, free from worry about which way the wind is blowing the toxic fumes that are vented from storage tanks used in fracking.
Do we have the right to keep an industrial activity away from our schools, parks and neighborhoods?
These are not rhetorical questions.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Castille, in the recent overturning of parts of Act 13, stated, “By any responsible account the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce detrimental effects on the environment, on the people, their children and future generations.” He goes on to state Article I Sec. 27 guarantees “each person the right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment.”
The Pennsylvania Constitution declares these rights “inviolate.”
So, we do have rights. When will our rights be acknowledged?