Karl Klein — op.ed

Karl Klein
4648 N Tower Rd.
Cincinnatus, NY 13040


Editor, Cortland Standard
Cortland, NY 13045

July 12, 2011


Dear Editor –

I am writing in response to the article about the disappointed landowners in regards to the DEC release of the draft hydrofracking standards.

I sympathize with the landowners who feel that their rights to their property have been violated.  Private property rights are an important part of our society.  Most of us don’t like being told what we can, or cannot do, with our property.  However, I would like to ask your readers to consider the same private property rights issue from a different perspective.

When NYS passed the Compulsory Integration aspect of the existing gas extraction rules, they effectively violated my right to control the mineral rights under my property.  When enough landowners in any given area sell their mineral rights (in this gas – natural gas), the industry is free to tunnel under my property using horizontal drilling and take my gas.  It doesn’t matter if I want to sell this legacy now (with record low prices for natural gas) or want to wait till the price rises – which it surely will.  Or, if I simply prefer to leave this legacy to my heirs, the law makes it impossible for me to protect my property.

The landowners cited in the article will have, in effect, (with today’s low prices) forced me to put my well water at risk and also potentially required me to put up with the hundreds, if not thousands, of massive trucks, tankers, earthmovers, and compressor stations that will be needed to extract and export the “fracked” gas from our rural area.  Make no mistake, hydraulic fracturing is an industrial process.  It is not the relatively benign operation used in the old gas wells that already dot the landscape.

Even though many landowners claim to be the aggrieved parties, most of them have received some money (in some cases thousands and thousands of dollars) – even though no drilling has yet taken place.  So, it is really hard for me to feel very sorry for them having received this “free money.”  To me, living in rural Cortland County is about the lifestyle, peace and quiet, and clean air and water.  These things are far more important to me than the money I might get from a questionable gas extraction industrial operation.  In this case, I believe my right to these things trumps the rights of my neighbors enable the burrowing under my land to take my property.

In educating myself on this issue, there seem to be a great many questions about the overall safety of the fracking industrial process.  I think perhaps it CAN be done safely, but the record of the gas industry shows that it doesn’t always do so.  Until they show that they can, let’s just put this process on hold and leave the gas where it is.  They cover up their mistakes by settling with injured parties and requiring them to sign non-disclosure agreements that keep their errors and mistakes quiet and not part of the public record.

Let’s not risk what have right now for what might possibly be a short-term bonanza (which includes the arrival of out-of-state “roughnecks”, associated increased demands for social services, law enforcement, decreased real estate values, road damage, and air and water pollution).

Respectfully submitted,


Karl Klein
Solon, NY

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