This letter is in response to the letter by Steven J. Beck in the March 22 issue of Farm and Dairy. The tone of the letter is to create class warfare by demonizing rich landowners who inherited or invested in land and are now selling their mineral rights. They now don’t live on their land and will be able to buy luxurious houses and even yachts. (40 percent of payments from leases go to pay taxes.)
[He implies] these greedy people are selling out to oil and gas companies who will rape the environment. This leaves non-landowners to live in fear of noise pollution, air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion, earthquakes, heavy traffic, bad health and early death. They get none of the monetary benefits.
In my 79 years I know many of these “wealthy landowners” across the state. His description of landowners isn’t like the ones I know. Many of these people work 60 to 100 hours per week, as well as family members, to produce the cheapest, safest and most abundant food supply anywhere in the world.
Also, many of these “wealthy landowners” are only a few failed crop years from bankruptcy. Some, after living frugally and having a family member also work off the farm, when they are 60 to 80 years old get the debts paid and now own the land and machinery.
The benefits Mr. Beck gets enable him to work 40 hours per week, buy cheap food, heat his house with cheap gas (wholesale price has gone from $15 per mcf to 2.50 mcf) and still enjoy a standard of living many “wealthy landowners” can’t afford.
To support his call to stop drilling and fracking (tens of thousands of wells have been safely fracked in the last 50 years) he seems to be parroting every extremist idea over the Internet, of which many are total distortions of the truth and certainly do not reflect what is going on in the real world.
Instead of calling for class warfare with this subject as well as nation issues, we need intelligent, knowledgeable people to have a dialogue and develop solutions.