Luke Cranford has been active in organized opposition to fracking in Lee County for more than a year, concerned about chemical spills and disruptions to the area’s bucolic landscape.
But a proposal under consideration could force Cranford and other area property owners to give up control of the natural gas under their land and sell it to energy companies whether they want to or not.
Known as compulsory pooling, or forced pooling, the policy allows drillers to tap local natural gas, even if property owners don’t want drillers probing under their homes and farms. Critics compare it to a government’s right to seize private property for the public good, except in this case the parties claiming rights to the land would be for-profit businesses.
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.
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