Moratorium suggested for eminent domain

Jan. 15, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

The original intent of eminent domain was to acquire property for promoting projects for the good of the general public, such as highways and schools. With all the unanswered questions facing us right now regarding the potential for environmental damage from fracking, it is obvious that is too early to know whether the proposed drilling will do more harm than good. It may be the cause of massive and irreversible damage to the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land on which we live and grow our food.

Until all those questions can be answered completely, and citizens can be assured that the drilling will not be more harmful than beneficial, there should be a moratorium on the use of eminent domain for acquisition of land for the production of shale gas.

Furthermore, until it is shown that drilling for shale gas in Lee County is financially feasible, and that there are major companies waiting to invest the monies necessary to remove the gas in a safe and environmentally sound manner, it is premature to be acquiring lands with the use of eminent domain. Since the price of natural gas is currently very low, it may be many years until that happens, if ever.

In conclusion, the property owners of Lee County should not have their land taken from them unless it can be shown that it is for the greater good of the community, that it can be done in a safe, environmentally sound manner and that it is financially feasible. At this time, none of those requirements have been met.

Vince Rhea