Trust, indeed.....-Kayak Dude
North Branch Land Trust opens door to drilling
In July 2010, the board adopted a policy on subsurface fossil fuels and mineral extraction. It included a clause reading, "Due to the current status of state and federal laws and regulations governing the industry and the current conditions in the industry in general, NBLT will not consider any form of lease agreement for the extraction of fossil fuels, minerals or any other subsurface resource under any NBLT owned properties at this time."
A few weeks ago, the trust's board changed the policy to exclude that clause.
In a turnaround from its earlier stance, the North Branch Land Trust has opened the door to natural gas drilling beneath the Wyoming County property the trust pledged to conserve.
The trust's executive director says the change allows the nonprofit organization to keep drilling companies off the surface of the land. But one of the trust's founders believes leasing pristine land for subsurface drilling, a practice that has the potential to ruin it and neighboring land, is unethical.
Childhood friend and family (animal) doctor Dr. Douglas Ayers feels betrayed.
"I think it's extremely immoral for anyone, a private citizen, even someone who's going to lose their property, to allow gas drilling if there is a chance they will damage their neighbor's property," Ayers said. "I would rather lose my property than hurt other people....
"One thing is not debatable: Ernie Howland would never approve of what they're doing. Period," he said. "He trusted us because we were a land trust. Not a gas trust. A land trust."
"I ruined this organization and I didn't even know it," Ayers said of allowing pro-drilling people on what he characterized as a previously "green" board. "I didn't know gas would be discovered."
As Otter said in Animal House:
You fucked up... you trusted us!
15 hours ago