Companies are looking to lease from landowners in Northwest Louisiana for natural gas rights. When the subject of mineral rights enters my mind, stories of lost homes, stripped ground, and ruined lives soon follow. Why? Part of my family comes from Southern Indiana where coal companies have thrived. Some of my family members have actually worked in the coal mines. One lesson they learned was to buy the mineral rights when buying a new home and never to sell their mineral rights. My grandfather told stories of how the coal company would come in and people would lose their homes. The coal companies did not care for the little man, which is also largely why the UMWA exists. Those were indeed, sad stories. I am afraid the people of Northwest Louisiana might be in for something they aren't fully ready for.
While various contracts exist and lawyers specialized in mineral rights laws should be consulted, I see no guarantee that companies will treat landowners with the respect they deserve. The way I see it, selling your mineral rights or even natural gas rights is like selling your soul. The promise of extravagant amounts of money has lured many Louisiana citizens into signing leases. I would never sell my mineral rights for any amount of money. If any of our nearby neighbors sign a lease, we will likely put our home up for sale and leave Shreveport. We don't want a situation where a neighbor has signed away natural gas rights and the company requests legal right of way through our property to access the natural gas. Yes, that happens. Like it or not, these companies are quite skilled at manipulating the public. More people are asking questions about money than about what they are risking with regard to their property. It might even end up lowering property values in your area. It's a dirty business. To give you another perspective on just how dirty they can play, if you don't sell and everyone else around you did, they'll just drill horizontally underneath and take what they want regardless. In addition, the promise of money makes neighbors do and say very bad things to each other. If enough people sign leases in any given neighborhood, it forces everyone else to sign in too. Not very neighborly.
We will also see an increase in work related injuries. Those who work for the companies setting up rigs and drilling will undoubtedly expose themselves to dangerous situations. While field employees understand the risk, what you must understand as a member of the community is that safety is not all that important to a gas company or a mining company. Coal miners are all too familiar with this way of life. The world of natural gas is no different. Expect to hear about safety violations, environmental contamination, explosions, fires, injuries, and unfortunately, deaths.
I am ashamed to have voted for Cedric Glover who has brought these companies into our communities and hope that the people of Shreveport and the surrounding area are smart enough to resist the dangling carrot on a stick. I am ashamed that a Democrat of all people would succumb to the will of a company over the well being of their constituents. These realities will become more apparent as more individuals sign into lease agreements. With the struggling economy, the promise of money is awfully tempting. Times are tough. Imagine how tough it will be when your property is at stake. Heed my warning and think of your future. Remember what I've said here when the company is ruining the way of life in your community. I highly doubt you like the notion of contaminated water flowing from your tap. I can only say I told you so.
I hope this post is not too late and that people in this area are doing their research.