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Feb 11, 2013


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Steve Harrison

The silence from the faux-Libertarian Civitas/JLF cabal on this subject is deafening. Are property rights only important when the government wants to build an off-ramp? Really? And where's the harping about the "tyranny of the majority" when as long as x number of your neighbors sign something, you've lost your right to choose what to do with your own property?


North Carolina gives mineral rights owners the right to drill on land without a property owner’s consent.

Why should a land owner be able to restrict another land owner from the lawful use of their land?

Not only is this nothing new, but it is no different than land owners not being able to restrict another owner's access to that other owner's land. By way of example, my family home is on acreage entirely surrounded by a neighbor's larger tract. The only access to our land is by way of our neighbor's land. The neighbor had no choice but to allow access.

Frankly, the crown reference is poor. The crown laid presumptive claim to mineral rights. No presumptive claim is being made in NC.

Eastern Ky experience.

Having been sold generations prior, few people today own the mineral rights to the land on which they live. And, although they can not deny access to miners, they can sell it to them. Gone unmentioned in the article is that NC landowners would be compensated for that land being used for drilling pads. They would also due compensation for damages that may result.

Furthermore, in the area of Ky I am familiar with (Pikeville, Jenkins) the end result of mining is valuable flat land on the surface that puts further wealth into the hands of land owners. There is tremendous mutual benefit gained from split estate property law.

The point is that as ghastly as it may initially seem having been raised in NC, split estates are not uncommon and are based on property rights having been bought and sold. There is no presumption of ownership involved.

The comparison to the crown is false.

As is this quote:

“Whether we want to sell or not, the gas companies could take our property from us,” said Vince Rhea.


Didn't someone write something in 1776 that was pretty much a big juicy raspberry aimed at English laws and monarchies?

Perhaps the State of North Carolina should read it. I know it's almost 237 years old, but I'm sure a library somewhere in Raliegh has a copy.


Aimed at English law? No.

Monarchies? Yes.

Steve Harrison


Froggy, the people you quoted were talking about this:

Compulsory pooling, also known as forced pooling, allows oil and gas companies to use private property without permission if a certain number of adjacent mineral rights owners lease their acreage out for gas production.

Jeanne and Vince Rhea, who narrowly escaped from buying a home with a split estate, now worry they’ll become “sandwiched” between other gas leases and be forced to concede their property.

Whatcha think about forced pooling, polifrog?


"in the area of Ky I am familiar with (Pikeville,Jenkins)"

What's your assoc. with Pike Co, frog? I lived in Elkhorn City for a year. Many "fond" memories of trips into P'ville for booze, El Azul Grande, and otb.


Mineral reservations and conveyances have to be recorded in the register of deeds' office. A title search can be an informative exercise.

Whatcha think about forced pooling, polifrog?

First thought? Kelo.


"Mineral reservations and conveyances have to be recorded in the register of deeds' office. A title search can be an informative exercise."

And title insurance covers those types of conveyances that are missed on a title search.

But a homeowner would have to read their title policy to find out if the mineral rights was excepted on the coverage. How many people read their title policy?

Andrew Brod

So Frog's answer, when asked what he thinks about a particular violation of personal property rights (a violation one would expect he, as a libertarian, would particularly oppose), merely cites another example of property rights being violated. The former violation is disliked mostly by liberals, the latter mostly by conservatives. He won't condemn the former if the latter remains the law.

Sounds like situational libertarianism, doesn't it?

What do I think? I dislike them both.


I stand by my initial first thought. Involuntary pooling is little more than another "Kelo", and one that the Supreme Court would likely support if Kelo is any indication.

It is easier to view this in terms of property development.

Let's say you own a single pivotal lot on a block that is being consolidated under a single owner for future redevelopment. Should you be forced to sell or be able to hold out for more "incentives"?

I side for the individual's right to hold out for or even demand more incentives, because the developer always retains the right to walk away if the demands exceed profitability. The individual would be unable to lever the maximum value for their property if they were unable to walk away from the table.

Mineral rights should be treated no differently. Involuntary pooling results in unfair negotiation.

From a communal perspective that individual holdout might result in a loss for the community far in excess of what might have otherwise been gained had that individual been forced to remain at the table. Kelo...

On the other hand, voluntary pooling allows for far few wells to be drilled, as a single well can serve multiple properties. There is no need for an individual well (or multiple wells) to be drilled on each property for each property owner to benefit from their mineral rights. Instead, the property owners share a single well.

The environmentally conscience would do well to keep that in mind.

Steve Harrison

Yes, it does. It's either that or a painfully transparent attempt to avoid being caught on record approving or disapproving of something. Either way, the property owners in question can go suck eggs, because the knights on the right ain't gonna fight.



Sounds like situational libertarianism, doesn't it?

As my comment suggested, it was a first thought, but one that hinted at disagreement with forced pooling.

Steve Harrison

What if they're not just bargaining, froggie? What if the landowner simply doesn't want a pad or a temporary road or a pipeline running through their property, or they don't want creeks or a (communal) water table fouled?



What if they're not just bargaining, froggie? What if the landowner simply doesn't want a pad or a temporary road or a pipeline running through their property...

Tough. As I mentioned above, property owner "A" can not isolate property owner "B" from property owner "B's" property. Whether that property is above ground ( 2d thinking) or below ground 3d thinking) makes no difference. Easements are common.


... or they don't want creeks or a (communal) water table fouled?

There is no guarantee that this will occur and in such cases that it does, compensation for damages is noting unusual.


@ Prell

The spouse has family there. My time spent there, usually Thanksgiving or Christmas but more frequently funerals, is invariably relaxing.

Account Deleted

Fairly neat map tool buried in that story. Out of curiosity I id'd schools, water mains and water sheds. Interesting results. Maybe WRAL or someone will put together an interactive news tool.

Account Deleted

This map I exported for instance shows the mineral rights leases in light purple along the angled western edge of the county. That area happens to be bounded by the Deep River. The areas that look like watershed are FEMA flood insurance rate map sections. So any frack spillage would have plenty of places to go.

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