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Anti-fracking laws vs. property rights


Mon, Oct 27th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

By Robert D. Culver

of Houston, Minn.

This is the headline of an article in the Wall Street Journal (8-1-14). I am a small property owner in Houston County and I thoroughly reject the growing intrusion of government at every level into our private lives, especially the private control of private property. Of course, there must be admitted exceptions and, like many other people, I am trying to decide about this new problem. I will try to pass on the gist of what the WSJ article of about twenty column inches has to say about this problem:

The increasing attempts of government to stop hydraulic fracturing and accompanying sand mining violate the constitutional rights of the property owners affected, including their rights to profit from ownership.

Over 170 towns and cities in New York state restricted fracking in their municipal districts and successfully defeated challenges in New York supreme courts. Pennsylvania permits similar restrictions. Other states are considering the problem. 500 people attended a city council meeting where the council decided to put the matter to voters in the next November election though land owners there threatened to sue if a ban is imposed.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says private property cannot be “taken... without just compensation” to owners of affected property. Bad feeling are stirred up, some lawyers have a field day and our own overloaded courts are further clogged.

There is also precedent in oil and gas extraction. An oil corporation in Michigan leased mineral rights to land in Traverse City. The state rejected their plan to drill, forbidding “any and all” energy development on the land. The Oil Company and land owners sued. The court awarded them (in 1989) $71.5 million raising the amount to $120.8 million in 1995.

The news columns in WSJ go on to discuss the “compelling interest” of local governments in protecting health and safety of their citizens. This may override “taking” claims of property owners. It offers many reasonable compromises. The article points out how such arrangements can be made to work to the satisfaction of fellow land owners, fellow citizens and the oil companies.

One thing the article does not discuss, though I must point it out: Those “greedy oil companies” happen to be numerous right here in SE Minnesota. Have you checked where your money market and .....
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Correction

Mon, Oct 27th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

In the October 20 issue of the Fillmore County Journal, in the Working Women section, there was an error on page seven under the Gundersen Harmony Clinic staff photo. The names should have read: Back row L to R: Mary Fishbaugher, PL, Cheryl Hotvedt, ..... 
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Global warming

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, Oct 27th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Some time back a commentator wondered why otherwise intelligent people weren’t concerned about or didn’t believe in global warming or climate change or increasing carbon dioxide or some other environmental catastrophe lurking around the corner. ..... 
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New school proposal in the R-P district

Mon, Oct 20th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Commentary

By Dale Evavold of Rushford, Minn. As is to be expected, there are a range of opinions and ideas about the new school proposal in the R-P district.  I see and hear comments regarding voting for the same issue as before, tax increases, poor buildi ..... 
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The R-P levy referendum: a fairy tale

Mon, Oct 20th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Commentary

By Kim Machutt of Rushford, Minn. Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, there was a homeowner named Rush Peters. Rush owned an older home that had fallen into a state of disrepair, but was still functional. Rush was faced with a choice to ..... 
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A bad deal

Mon, Oct 20th, 2014
Posted in Peterson Commentary

By Jon Peterson of Peterson, Minn. A few final thoughts before the November 4th R-P school district vote: Administrators and certain organized groups of the R-P school district have WANTED a new school for 15 years; twice buying land without bei ..... 
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Support for Kaase

Mon, Oct 20th, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Commentary

By Mike Ask of Lanesboro, Minn. I am a concerned citizen of Fillmore County and would like to express my personal feelings regarding the upcoming election for the position of Sheriff of Fillmore County. I started working as a Dispatcher/Jailer ..... 
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Make your vote count

Mon, Oct 20th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Commentary

By Linda Hovland of Rushford, Minn. When I was on the facilities committee, Chuck told us that our school district could not financially support any more than $24,000,000. The architect said, at the last informational meeting in Peterson, that ..... 
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The big muddy divide

Mon, Oct 20th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

As someone who is still looking to put down roots, I’ve got to say there’s a lot of reasons to look toward Minnesota as a place to raise a family. In fact, since 2010 it’s become increasingly clear that Minnesota seems just like a bette ..... 
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