I had an interesting experience this Sunday. I was scheduled to speak to a local homeowners association. The turn out was great, around 400 people guessing from how full the auditorium was. A member of the Homeowners association went before me and did a great job giving about a 10 minute speech regarding things he had seen on a recent trip to Fort Worth and his concerns regarding the impact of the Haynesville shale on this inner city neighborhood.
My turn came to speak and I began my usual talk. I told folks how I got involved in all of this (see my last blog for all of that) then began discussing the impact of the Haynesville shale and mineral leasing. I discussed environmental concerns such as noise and air pollution, water usage, etc.
I was discussing the importance of assuring your lease protects your environment and limiting how close a well can be to your home, etc when a man raised his hand. I stopped and asked if he had a question. The next thing I know this man (who happened to work in the oil and gas industry) was up on the stage and behind the podium. I stepped aside and he proceeded to say he thought he was supposed to speak and that people did not have to worry about putting things in their leases to protect their homes and environment. He stated (rather sarcastically) that the department of conservation prides itself on being strict on oil and gas companies. He also stated that people in Shreveport did not need to worry about the water issue because they do not get their water from an underground aquifer.
A lady in the audience stood up and stated she did not mean to be rude but she wanted to hear the rest of what I had to say. The man gave the podium back to me. I then made the point that while Shreveport gets their water from Cross Lake it is not an endless resource. If they are using an extra 4 to 5 million gallons of water per day during drilling of each well from Cross Lake and the civil demand increases from the increased population that is bound to come with prosperity, water conservation could become an issue in Shreveport just as it has become one in Fort Worth. I also pointed out that the laws and regulations have loopholes and the best way to ensure your concerns are addressed is by including clauses in your lease that address them.
I told the group that they should research everything well before signing a lease. But I also invited our uninvited speaker back up to the podium to finish his thoughts. In the few minutes he was up there several people in the audience challenged him with questions or statements regarding the need for conservation. Here is the thing folks, We should be willing to hear what anyone has to say. Everyone is going to tell you things based on their own agenda. Take what anyone says with a grain of salt, but listen. That is how we learn. What happened Sunday was a shining example of how some in the oil and gas industry will try to disrupt things and try to convince people not to protect themselves and their environment in their leases. It also showed that we need to be willing to research, listen and confirm for ourselves what is true and what is false in order to make the wisest decisions about our land and minerals.