Whether you want to or not, you might get fracked anyway:
The state’s Compulsory Pooling Study Group is set to debate forced pooling Wednesday in Raleigh with the intent of making recommendations to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The study group’s conclusions will be reported to the Mining and Energy Commission, but the commission will not hold hearings on it or take a vote. Wednesday’s discussion by the study group is likely to be the last public discussion of the issue before it gets to the legislature, said the group’s chairman Ray Covington, who is also a Mining and Energy commissioner.
And he's also got a lot of land he wants fracked, his own and that of his clientele:
North Carolina Oil and Gas was formed by brothers Rob and Russ Knight, and Ray Covington; all three grew up in Lee County, NC and have deep roots in the area.
Ray Covington emphasizes NCOG is not asking landowners to sign a Lease. “Instead, we are offering an “Engagement Agreement” simply giving us along with our/your Oil and Gas Attorney the right to negotiate on your behalf. Imagine the bargaining power of negotiating a lease when we are negotiating for thousands of acres and not merely a single tract of land.”
Yeah, and when an occasional landowner decides he or she doesn't want to sign a lease or have anybody ruining their water quality or other qualities of life, it's real handy to have somebody in a position of authority who can have the government force these holdouts to give up their rights. It's very handy, and it's also unethical as hell.
Here's more from RAFI on forced pooling in NC:
Forced pooling, known as “compulsory pooling” in North Carolina, gives states the right to compel a non-consenting landowner into a mineral rights lease. In most states, this requires that a certain percentage of surrounding land already be leased.
In North Carolina there are few legal protections for a landowner in the event of compulsory pooling. The state does not have a regulatory structure governing a compulsory pooling process.
Because of the current compulsory pooling law, RAFI and other advocates are concerned about the potential threats to landowner rights. The “Hydraulic Fracturing: Where Are We Now?,” presentation embedded below provides a brief overview of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, as well as in-depth analysis of compulsory pooling. The presentation was authored by RAFI Research & Policy Associate James Robinson.