Update: The President of the Farm Bureau in Chenango County was supposed to present at Sauqouit High School last night – and he bailed, two hours after this post went out via Twitter, etc. :
Brad Vickers of the New York Farm Bureau debates Chip Northrup at the Sauquoit High School tonight
Vickers can explain why the Farm Bureau thinks that gas rights are worthless
Coinkydink ? Or is it my halitosis ? Enquiring minds want to know why the President of the Farm Bureau ducked the debate. The Sauquoit show went fine, a local landowner who is a KPMG accountant and Texan did a credible job presenting the case for gas drilling under hastily arranged circumstances, in Mr. Vicker’s conspicuous absence. And Kelly was marvelous, as usual.
The New York Farm Bureau has formally gone on record as stating that undeveloped mineral rights – oil and gas interests – are of no quantifiable value. They’ve petitioned the government in Albany to that effect. Here is the key part of the Farm Bureau’s written position on the valuation of mineral rights.
“However, until the mineral resources are developed, there is no way for an assessor (with limited experience or scientific knowledge) to determine an accurate value of the resource. As such, they should be prevented from trying to do so. Furthermore, if the resource is never developed, it holds no value to the landowner and should not be assessed as such.“
I don’t disagree. There is no doubt that prospecting for shale gas is a rank speculation at best. But by taking the position that undeveloped mineral rights have effectively no value, the pro-fracking Farm Bureau has tacitly agreed that there can be no regulatory taking of such mineral rights. Which is how the case law reads in New York. . . no fracking takings in New York. Not if the Farm Bureau has anything to say about it.
It also means that there is no measurable decrease in value to mineral rights from a zoning ordinance that limits or prohibits drilling on land that has not already been developed for oil and gas. Because the mineral rights have no ascertainable value to begin with. To claim a loss, the mineral rights would have to have a quantifiable value. Which they do not. Per the New York Farm Bureau. The lawsuits against Middlefield and Dryden have no economic substance – per the Farm Bureau. Jennifer Huntington’s lawsuit against Middlefield is over nothing according to the Farm Bureau. Because she cannot demonstrate that she has been damaged if her mineral rights are impossible to value. Makes sense. Thanks for clarifying that Farm Bureau. Real handy.
Undeveloped mineral rights are worthless. The judges will accept that as an answer.
In the words of the late great Billy Preston, “Nothing from nothing be nothing.”
Thanks Farm Bureau. We agree on something. I feel real good about that. You ?