Dear (Legislator name),
I am a member of Northwest Landowners Association, and a North Dakota landowner in (district #). I am very concerned that the agency that has a legal requirement to “promote” production of oil and gas and that has said in the past that landowners should not be compensated for use of our pore space, is now going to be the one to decide how much I get paid if someone takes my pore space and uses it against my will. I don’t think that’s right. I don’t like eminent domain, but if my private property is going to be taken, I know I have constitutional rights to compensation. I think a jury of my peers is the best place for this to be decided. I would like other North Dakota citizens, like the ones that live and work in North Dakota and represent us in the legislature to make this decision. I am writing to ask you to adopt the amendments being proposed by NWLA. Landowners are asked to take on a lot with the oilfield. Please do not take our property rights without giving us the right to go to court and have an objective third party decide how much compensation we are owed.
We are back in Bismarck to fight another battle. Here is our message to legislators:
The ND legislature quietly passed a law in 2019, stripping land owners of their pore space, one of their property rights. NWLA filed a complaint July 29, 2019, in state district court asking the court to declare Senate Bill 2344 unconstitutional, void, and of no effect. For two years, NWLA fought to reinstate the rights to landowners and finally won January 21, 2021. Pore space has numerous definitions but, in essence, it is the space between the soil and rock molecules below the surface of the land. Pore space begins just below the surface, and is part of the surface estate. This means that the right to possess, use, lease, and inject substances into the pore space is one of the rights a surface owner has as the owner of the land.