Jan 6, 2012
by WLJ

Fracking story does disservice

Dear Editor, The front page headline “Fracking pits ag against oil & gas” in your Dec. 26 issue does a disservice to the collaborative working relationship that exists between two strong industries—at least in Wyoming. Protecting water quality is a mutual goal of both ranchers and the oil and gas industry. Before “reacting,” we both want credible and verifiable scientific data. To the extent that fracking may be determined to be a cause of water quality degradation, we will first seek mutually acceptable solutions. Should we fail to find such solutions, we will respectfully each represent our own best interests. As mature industries, we can accept conflicting positions without allowing them to “pit” us against each other. Yes, there are issues on which we disagree with our friends in the oil and gas industry. However, there are far more issues, such as challenges from environmental extremists and overregulation by federal agencies, that draw us together as partners.

Jim Magagna Executive Vice President Wyoming Stock Growers Association

Fracking a threat to some producers

The Editor, It is good to see the recognition in your publication of the problems presented to the surface owner by shale drilling, sometimes called “fracking.” It is a serious threat to many livestock producers. The loss of ground water and the contamination of streams used for watering livestock gets right into your pocket.

Many of us must have wells to provide water all or part of the year. The roads with so much traffic, the dust, the noise, the allnight noise and light and the vapors from tanks and pits keep parts of your property unusable far beyond the space fenced for drilling. If you have paid hunting, that is pretty well shot also.

Besides these things that cause immediate loss, two long-time problems occur, which are frequently unthought of. One is the devaluation of the property— who wants to buy the unsightly property with huge chunks cut out of it. The other is complications with insurance and loans. A lease to drill may void your insurance or jack up the rates. and “industrial” uses may void the loan which allows you to own your property.

Tricky leases and lease men are also a problem. Some leases pay only for “dry” gas. The mineral owner may think this means “with the water taken out.” What it really means is “with the most valuable part, ethane, propane, etc., taken out.” Negotiating with the company after the lease is signed is about like negotiating with an invading army—completely hopeless.

And don’t depend on your state government to help you. One source claims the industry has spent threequarters of a billion dollars on lobbying since 2000.

S. T. Bond Jane Lew, WV