We have property rights, and we deserve to have those rights protected. But HB 4268, introduced today, appears to be both a Forced Pooling bill AND a Right-to-Trespass bill, all rolled up in one.  In other words, our government wants to allow corporations to steal our property and trespass on it without our permission.

Crazy, right? You’d think.

I’ll explain more and link to the bill text below, but first I want to talk about why this is so very wrong, in so very many ways…

HB 4268: WRONG, and a symptom of WV’s skewed priorities

Our government could be trying to fix our basic infrastructure problems—there are so many, and they are so serious—but legislative leadership is more worried about helping wealthy CEOs and assuring themselves campaign donations in the future than they are about working for a better WV.

Common sense should tell them this is not the right thing to do.

But there’s more than common sense to it. In his writings, John Adams worried that without just laws to protect people, we’d be subject to “the tyranny of the majority.” Our representatives, he wrote, must have some check to restrain them…

… when their desires are for forbidden fruit—for injustice, cruelty and the ruin of the minority. And that the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority, is demonstrated by every page of history… To remedy the dangers attendant upon the arbitrary use of power, checks…will scarcely avail without an explicit admission some limitation of the right of the majority to exercise sovereign authority over the individual citizen…

While the government does have the power of eminent domain in order to provide a public good, that is a power for governments to use to enact actual public good. It is not meant to be given by our government to corporations, as an excuse to increase their profits and obscene CEO compensation.

And further, the fact is that resource rich areas tend to become impoverished rather than wealthy. Take a look at mining areas of southern WV to see what “public good” has been wrought there.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Well, we do not consent to have our property seized or trespassed upon.

Will money buy WV’s Government in 2018?

Right now, lobbyists are counting on the hope that their  bought legislators will refuse to take into account all the costs we are paying for this so-called “public good.”

That is unacceptable. We can’t continue to operate as we have, allowing wealthy corporations to place long terms costs on on local populations.

  • We do not consent to have our property taken against our wills, and at terms we have not agreed to.
  • We are better able to decide how to use our property to our benefit than corporations are—and we certainly don’t need Big Government handing that power to corporations and lobbyists.
  • Neither we nor our neighbors deserve to have our property values diminished.
  • And finally, it is the height of foolishness to only consider the benefits and not the costs when determining what a public good is.

Read about this years Forced Pooling and Right-to-Trespass bill:

House Bill 4268, introduced today, appears to be both a Forced Pooling bill AND a Right-to-Tresspass bill, all rolled up in one.

“The purpose of this bill is to provide an exception to waste and trespass for certain oil and natural gas use and development to encourage the efficient economic development of oil and natural gas resources. The bill provides that use and development of oil and gas mineral property that has been consented to by three fourths of the oil and gas owners is permissible, is not waste, and is not a trespass…”

Read the whole thing for yourself.

Just so we’re all clear on this: rural people are members of the public, too—and all West Virginians deserve far better than what we’ve been getting.

We deserve to benefit from our resources.

Want to fight? Tell House Energy NO FORCED POOLING at this link.