What happened to conservative values? It has been very disappointing to see our conservative values continue to dwindle under the pressure from large corporations. In Texas our politicians talk conservative values right up to the point where they fail to follow them. Two foundation pieces of conservatism, are property rights and the free market system. In Texas, our “conservative” politicians have taken away both from the average Texan. You are allowed to enjoy your property, as long a corporation or someone with more money doesn’t want it. This used to be a state where you could move out in the rural areas, buy a piece of land, and live in peace. Now if you move to the country to have some property, you are an immediate target for a corporation to take your land, or make it unlivable.
The prime example of this is the oil and gas industry. The State of Texas has taken away most of the rights that pertain to land ownership from the citizens and given it to these large corporations. One glaring example is the natural gas pipeline midstream companies, which have been given the tremendous power of eminent domain. These are private, for profit companies that have been awarded all the power of government to condemn property. This not only takes away property rights, but it destroys the free market system that allows for a property owner to negotiate in good faith for the use of their property. Instead the private property owners are immediately subjected to threats and intimidations. Due to these companies being for profit, it is in their best interest to obtain the easement and install the pipeline as cheap as possible, and they use whatever tactic necessary to achieve this. Therefore, private property owners are paid a fraction of the value of the land and not compensated for associated property damage. This is not limited to the active drilling areas, due to pipelines being installed all over the state.
Another example is what is known as forced pooling. It has many names and variations, but again it is another method to transfer private property rights to large corporations. This again takes away the requirement to negotiate in good faith from the private property owner for their mineral properties. In Texas the minerals are the dominant property right, so the surface owners have little input on what happens to their property. However, under forced pooling, the energy companies can even take your minerals without your consent. This again takes away private property rights and undermines the free market system. The private property owner also has no protection if something goes wrong in the process. Therefore, these corporations can take your property without your consent, destroy it, and the only recourse is a lawsuit that may cost the private property owner tens of thousands of dollars.
I have seen other “conservative” states like Pennsylvania following the Texas policy of destroying private property rights, and not allowing private citizens to enjoy their property investments. I would urge the other states to not do it the “Texas Way”. In Texas it is only worth owning property, if you are willing to concede that you have no right to enjoy that property. So you must ask yourself if that is what you want for the citizens of your state. Private property rights and free market system are the values that are important to the “Average Joe” trying to live the American Dream; let’s not continue to destroy this.
Mayor, DISH, TX
“Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it”