“...Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” by Margaret Mead

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Monday, 24 February 2014

  • Do not sign any leases, easements, or permits (surveying, exploration, land, etc.) unless you know what's in the document.  Signed documents of any type have been successfully used by gas companies as evidence of the landowner's implied approval or consent when applying to the Energy Utility Board (EUB) or government agencies for permission to develop.
  • Gas companies do not want to own your land, they only want to lease your land.  This way the landowner can be partially or totally responsible for any damages caused by the gas company or their lease expires.  In the case of gas wells that means you as the landowner may be responsible for any damages from the wells forever.
  • Anything not written in a lease is NOT in the lease.  Any verbal assurances from a land agent or a gas company are only words and are not legally binding.
  • Don't sign a leases as an individual, only as part of an organized group.  Land agents will play neighbor against neighbor to get the lowest prices and least restrictions.  
  • Government utility boards like the Energy Utility Board (EUB) only regulate utility regulations.  They are typically staffed by people from within or associated with the industries they regulate. They do not act as a platform for lease grievances between landowners and gas company.  Land leases are legal agreements and are not under their mandates.
  • Most lawyers do not have experience in property rights issues, in particular, they are not familiar with the laws that relate to gas companies and gas / pipeline leases.
  • Land agents are not employed by you.  They do not work in your interests.  Land agents only want to acquire leases at the lowest price with the least responsibility or liability for their clients, i.e. the gas companies.  Land agents represent the buyer (gas company), not the seller (property owner).
  • Any lease on your land including all future liabilities will be tied to your property if you attempt to sell it.  The leases may restrict your use or any future buyer's use of the land.  Those restrictions can even be changed overtime by the Energy Utility Board (EUB).
  • The proposed TransCanada Pipeline through New Brunswick would be regulated by the National Energy Board (NEB) and would supersede any provincial environmental or regulatory laws.  Once the leases managed by the NEB expire, all responsibility falls back on the province, land owners and the taxpayers of the province.
  • The only strength we have is in banning together.  We need to do the ground work and leg work to bring together as many people as possible to protect our properties.  That means knocking on our neighbors' doors or getting on the phone.  We need to develop a NB Landowners Association to develop a united front in dealing with the land agents employed by the gas companies.

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