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The Fiduciary Obligations of a Landman and What They Mean The Words “Surface Rights” Don’t Mean What Many Landowners Think They Mean Property Rights, Market Incentives, and Species at Risk Sage Grouse Solutions

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The Special Areas

Wilson Property Rights Video

Click here to view the PowerPoint slides from Wilson's presentation in a PDF Format.

In the summer of 2014, Keith Wilson spoke in Calgary at the Canadian Property Rights Conference. His presentation, in total, takes nearly an hour and touches on all the most significant elements of the property rights debate that have occurred in Alberta over the past four of five years. This is clearly the most comprehensive and easy to understand presentation about property rights in the province that people will ever see or have the opportunity to see.

What Happens When an Insolvent Energy Company Fails to Pay its Rent to a Landowner?

(Excerpted from ABlawg.ca) Written by: Shaun Fluker | Decision commented on: Petroglobe v Lemke, 2014 ABSRB 401

The law in Alberta provides an energy company with the right of surface access on private lands to drill for oil and gas. This access allows the company, among other things, to construct an access road and clear lands for the well site. In most cases, the company and the landowner enter into a surface lease whereby the company agrees to pay rent in exchange for this access. In other cases, surface access is governed by a Right of Entry Order issued by the Alberta Surface Rights Board (website) whereby the company obtains access in exchange for the payment of rent. This case is about what happens when an insolvent company fails to pay its rent. Continue

Property—The Foundation of Freedom

Thomas Sowell

If someone were to ask the average farmer what the purpose of a power drill might be, the answer would be easy. But how might the average farmer describe something that's seemingly less precise. For example, what might the average landowner say if asked to explain the purpose of property?

If someone were to ask the average farmer what the purpose of a power drill might be, the answer would be easy. It’s for drilling holes in wood, concrete, tin, even steel. And because a wide array of gadgets have been invented that fit onto the end of a drill, these handy tools can be used to grind metal, drive screws, or sand a block of wood.

The purpose of any workshop tool could be just as easily described — whether a vise grip, rasp, screwdriver, or wrench. But how might the average farmer describe something that’s seemingly less precise?

For example, what might the average landowner say if asked to explain the purpose of property?

Property—The Basis of Moral Independence

Most people view property from an economic perspective, but property is actually as much about morality as it is about economics. The rights and responsibilities associated with property provide individuals with an opportunity to engage in acts of self-stewardship and self-improvement. Property is the basis of moral independence because the way we use, improve, and employ property is how we express individual responsibility. Continue Reading...

Our Mission Is "Accountable Government, Property Rights, and Laws that Protect Them Both
James Fenimore Cooper

A statue of James Fenimore Cooper. Cooper was a prolific and internationally popular 19th century writer. His books included "The Pathfinder", "The Deerslayer", "The Pioneers", and "The Last of the Mohicans".
(Photo by: R. A. Nonenmacher)

"Property is desirable as the ground work of moral independence, as a means of improving the faculties, and of doing good to others, and as the agent in all that distinguishes the civilized man from the savage."      - James Fenimore Cooper

Property rights are as fundamental to civil society as accountable government. We each hold a property right in our own person — in our own lives. No one, including the Premier, Prime Minister, or Queen, has the right to manage someone’s life. We also hold a property right in our opinions and beliefs, and in the right to communicate our opinions and beliefs.

We hold property rights in physical property and in contracts. Leases and statutory consents can also convey property rights. Owning physical property, and the property rights associated with physical property are not the same thing. Keep in mind that governments rarely trample property rights by seizing property. Instead, property rights are stomped on when government controls private property or inappropriately restricts its use through regulation. For example, the Alberta government recently passed a law eliminating a landowner’s statutory right to a hearing when government approves an energy project on private land. If a landowner believes the location of a well, pipeline, access road, or any number of things will interfere with his or her existing operation, the statutory right to a hearing in order to contest any of these things is gone. The Alberta government knowingly trampled the property rights of all Alberta landowners, even though it hasn’t seized any titles or expropriated any land.

A third type of property rights are intellectual property rights. When Ian Tyson writes a song, he owns it. When Margaret Atwood authors a book, she owns it. When people design software programs or invent handy gadgets, they own their inventions, as well as all the rights and privileges associated with their property.

Importantly, property is not only the basis of a free society, it is also the basis of moral independence.

U.S. Senate Report: International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

What Does a Wind Turbine Sound Like?

What does a wind turbine sound like? This video footage, posted at the CBC website, was shot at Enbridge Wind Farm at Underwood, Ontario. The height of the hubs on these turbines is approximately 70m and the blades have a diameter of 82m.

CBC reports that wind turbines make different noises at different times under different weather conditions. A retired nurse Norma Schmidt lives nearby. She says she isn't getting much sleep.

Wind Rush

Full Documentary (45 Minutes)

EXCERPT FROM THE CBC WEBSITE: …it's easy to be skeptical about the talk of wind turbines making people sick. We're told that wind turbines are good and green. So how could those people living by them have an issue? But there is a problem—and it's there because some governments and wind companies didn't do their homework before installing megawatt after megawatt of huge industrial machines. And as a result there are people living among the turbines who are suffering.

In the new documentary film WIND RUSH, produced for CBC Doc Zone by Toronto's 90th Parallel Productions, the battleground for the pro and anti-wind forces is southern Ontario. The government there pledged to wean the province off coal fired generation plants and replace them with green wind energy.

But as soon as the turbines went up in places like Wolf Island, Amaranth and Bruce County, people realized they could hear them. Sometimes it was like a whisper, but other times it sounded more like a jet taking off. And then it got worse.

Pipeline Landowners - Q&A

QUESTION: How do regulatory provisions change from province to province and between provincially and federally-regulated issues?

ANSWER: Sometimes there are similarities and sometimes there are big differences. This is the reason that in its literature and authorization forms, Grassroots Alberta points out that there can never be any guarantees that what was successfully achieved in one jurisdiction can immediately be replicated in another.

Federally-regulated pipelines are regulated by the National Energy Board. In Alberta, provincially-regulated pipelines are regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator, and the financial considerations, if they cannot be settled, are eventually addressed by the Surface Rights Board.

In years gone by, one of the most landowner friendly provinces was thought to be Alberta. With recent changes to legislation and regulation, this is no longer considered to be the case.

Questions and Answers for Pipeline Landowners - Click here for more questions and answers.

Thomas Sowell

Private property gives to each of us the assurance that others will employ themselves and their resources in ways that create prosperity for all. For evidence that private property not democracy is the key to prosperity and freedom, I point to India and Hong Kong. In India the electoral franchise is wide and elections have long been regular, but property rights are weak. For most of the post-World War II era, in contrast, Hong Kong had no democracy, but property rights had been among the strongest in the world. People in India lived in poverty, shackled by a corrupt state; the people of Hong Kong grew increasingly wealthy... Private property, not democracy, is the great guarantor of prosperity and liberty. And because in decentralizes power, it also safeguards people from political madmen with utopian ideas about what is good for us.

                       - Thomas Sowell (paraphrased/abridged)

James Fenimore Cooper

Property is desirable as the ground work of moral independence, as a means of improving the faculties, and of doing good to others, and as the agent in all that distinguishes the civilized man from the savage.

                                                - James Fenimore Cooper