I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman magazine discussing how local fracking bans that are popping up across the country could impact ranchers.
These laws are being passed by counties, such as Mora County, New Mexico, and cities, such as Denton, Texas, across the country. Frequently, laws banning fracking (or some written even more broadly to prohibit all oil and gas production) are challenged in court by the oil and gas industry and mineral owners who wish to lease their mineral rights to an oil or gas production company. The most common claims are that the laws constitute a regulatory taking of the mineral owner’s private property rights, that the laws violate the due process clause of the Constitution, and that the state-level regulatory scheme related to the production of minerals pre-empts such local laws.
Read the full article here.
It is an interesting issue for agriculture–one the one hand, many ranchers worry that fracking could damage their groundwater and the surface of their land. On the other, many ranchers who are also mineral owners strongly value their right to lease their mineral rights and to profit from these leases.