North Dakota voters will decide Tuesday on the ultimate tax revolt: abolishing the property tax altogether. A citizen-led petition drive has put the daring, all-or-nothing proposal before the voters in a state flush with tax revenue, jobs and prosperity generated by an oil boom.
Sponsored LinksIf the property tax is eliminated, it would be the first time since 1980 — when oil-rich Alaska got rid of its income tax — that a state has discontinued a major tax, reports the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan research group. North Dakota would become the only state not to have a property tax, a levy the state has had since before it joined the union in 1889.
And why is North Dakota doing so well financially? It's not just the oil boom... they have their own state bank that is not controlled by any of the big private ones or the 'Fed'.
"Truth is in history, but history is not the truth." - Nicolás Gómez Dávila
State banks don't create $500 a month rent for semi to park in a parking lot or $15 burgers...etc etc etc
They are in an oil & gas boom....but its doing a fair amount of long term damage in the process that will end up costing taxpayers (when those taxes come back as they surely will as someone has to foot the bill).
For example Encana -
Company Backs out of $45 Million Deal to Buy Troubled Wyoming Gas Field
Texas-based Legacy Resources backed out of a $45 million deal to buy the field near Pavillion, Wyom., from EnCana last week, soon after the Environmental Protection Agency said it had detected cancer-causing benzene at 50 times the level safe for humans and other carcinogenic pollutants during its latest round of sampling.
Legacy Resources announced it had agreed to buy EnCana’s Pavillion-area wells, which produce an estimated 13 million cubic feet of gas a day, on Nov. 1. At the time, the company also said it planned to drill new wells in Pavillion to tap the 45 billion cubic feet of gas it believes lies underground.
Residents had long complained of widespread water contamination and alleged that fracking was to blame. EnCana had trucked in replacement drinking water to some residents. The company faced increasing controversy when the EPA announced in late 2009 that it had found hydrocarbon contaminants in residents’ drinking water wells. The agency advised residents not to drink their water and to ventilate their homes when they showered or washed dishes. ProPublica began reporting on concerns about water contamination in Pavillion in 2008.
On Nov. 9 the EPA announced more test results from samples taken in Pavillion, this time from two water monitoring wells drilled to 1,000 feet – far below most drinking water wells in the area. It found benzene, along with acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel. It also detected a solvent called 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) that is commonly used by the drilling industry to fracture wells. It also can be used for cleanup at well sites.
At a buck a cubic foot you are talking about buying a field for less than 4 days worth of gas. Why in the world would they not bite? Because they'll be on the hook for hauling in water to the farmers for 70+ years....of course sooner or later Encana will offload it to someone else (just as they bit the bullet 8 years earlier) who will then milk it for all it worth before declaring bankruptcy and leaving a path of destruction behind them for the taxpayers to pick up the bill. That is if the taxpayers don't already end up picking up the tab....
The top state regulator of oil and gas development in Wyoming has apologized for saying greed is motivating people in the Pavillion area who blame hydraulic fracturing for polluting the groundwater around the small central Wyoming community.
State Oil And Gas Conservation Commission Supervisor Tom Doll made the remarks about Pavillion-area residents Tuesday at a meeting of state regulators in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"I really believe greed is driving a lot of this," the energy news publication EnergyWire quoted Doll as saying.
People around Pavillion, he said, are "just looking to be compensated."
In the meantime, the state has offered to provide cisterns for local residents, using $750,000 allocated by the Wyoming Legislature this year. Under the plan, people here would still have to pay a fee to have their water hauled from the nearby community of Pavillion, at a cost that could run more than $150 per month.
Encana Oil and Gas (U.S.A.) Inc., which bought the Pavillion gas field in 2004 and operates about 125 gas wells in the area, is already providing jugs of drinking water for Mr. Locker and 20 other households. It is unclear whether Encana will defray any of the cost of the cistern water.
“Until there is a peer-reviewed study and a good scientific basis that indicates that the issues related to water are related to our operations, that is not something we are ready to address,” said Doug Hock, an Encana spokesman.
Encana has maintained that water in the area is naturally poor and that its operations did not cause the problems — fracking had also occurred before the company purchased the gas field. Moreover, the energy industry has steadfastly pointed out that there has never been any conclusive link between fracking and water contamination.
Mr. Hock said it should have come as no surprise that the E.P.A.’s two monitoring wells showed high levels of methane and benzene because they were drilled deep into a natural gas field.
But some locals say the draft report’s analysis of water samples, which identified synthetic chemicals consistent with natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing fluids, is proof of what they suspected for years.
“These are people that had good water,” said John Fenton, a barrel-chested farmer and chairman of the Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens group. “And it changed when there was this rush to come in here and develop the area when they didn’t understand the geology.”
Mr. Fenton said he thought he had dodged a bullet until about three years ago, when his tap water began occasionally fizzing and smelling like petroleum. And even though Encana is giving him drinking water, Mr. Fenton said he and his family still bathe in dirty water.
Oil compounds were found in 89 percent of all drinking wells that were tested in the area, the EPA stated. Methane was found in seven wells out of a total of twenty-three. At least three of these wells were found to contain 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical compound known as 2-BE, used in the process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a controversial process for extracting natural gas from underground.
“There’s things here there shouldn’t be,” says John Fenton, a Pavillion resident.
Encana Oil & Gas USA, which owns approximately 250 gas wells in the area, has denied natural gas development is the cause, stating that many of these toxins “occur naturally,” yet the Canadian-based company has agreed to pay for bottled water for the community.
Fenton appreciates the gesture, since he no longer has to haul fresh water eighty miles to his home. But he’s not happy that Encana is now part of a new working group with the EPA, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, and the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Together, they are supposed to find the cause of the water contamination. It could be argued that it’s not in Encana’s best interest to find the truth.
The simple question “What’s in the water and how did it get there?” is becoming increasingly critical to public health in the state of Wyoming, especially since the oil and gas companies do not have to divulge to the public the names of the chemicals they are using in the fracking process. These names are protected by law—a law many in Congress are trying to change—but the petroleum lobbyists are powerfully motivated to maintain the status quo.
So when a film like Gasland comes into the public’s view, no wonder America’s Natural Gas Alliance gets defensive. The scene where a man lights his tap water on fire should give all of us pause. This is fact, not fiction, in hidden pockets of the American West, more common than we wish to believe. Bless Josh Fox for giving us the truth, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for recognizing it.
If I were to tell you the fact that if Wyoming were a country, it would be the fourth-largest coal-producing nation in the world, that is one thing. But if I were to tell you—as a nurse told me in a town meeting in Gillette, Wyoming—that there is not enough chemotherapy to service all the people in Campbell County with cancer, that is quite another story. It is the equivalent of turning on the faucet and with one match lighting the water on fire.
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