It strikes me that the blind impulse for quick money from fracking has a price tag we won’t want: a lifetime of losses. What amount of money is worth it? Paying one bill? Sending kids to college? I recently read a Facebook post that said $4,000 was offered to someone for their mineral rights – who knows if that’s hearsay. Whatever the amount, it might look sweet now, but what does it mean in the long run? The research shows: when you mess with fresh water supplies, you’re asking for trouble.
A few key points: 1) When you sell your mineral rights, you are selling rights to ALL prospecting opportunities on your land. If the gas runs out, they can keep coming back and exploring for any minerals that might lie underneath. You are now a permanent “landlord” to a tenant who can drill anytime. What an inconvenience. 2) Our geology is complex and interconnected. Potential contamination of the Southeastern water supply is huge.
Placing profit over the best interests of community is out of line for the mountain values I learned from old-timers like Cecil. He was a World War I gunner and grew monstrously luscious speckled tomatoes. Cecil was quiet, hardworking and earnest. He embodied the ethics that have allowed North Carolina to grow as it has: care for thy neighbor. Would he be able to grow his prized tomatoes without a water filtration system? The legislators’ actions make me question if they have lost the ethics that have kept North Carolina a haven for health and wellness? Why would we risk the one resource that our mountains provide so abundantly? Without our neighbors, water and land, we have nothing. Preservation of water should be the no. 1 priority for our own well-being as well as that of future generations.