To the Editor:
In the last few weeks’ paper, I read a lot about the water company, coal company and gas company. No one seems to have any answers, but I have a few questions.
1. Is natural gas considered a mineral?
2. If so, do the gas companies pay unmined mineral taxes?
3. Don’t they claim they own the ‘minerals’ under your property?
4. Why do they pay so little taxes (2 1/2 cents county tax)?
5. Who set this rate?
6. Do these wells have meters?
7. Who reads them, the gas company?
8. Isn’t this like letting a cat guard a canary?
9. Why don’t I read about what that gas severance tax money is used for in Letcher County?
10. Why don’t the school board, city, county and state raise the gas companies’ taxes instead of the poor working stiffs’?
11. I understand that coal companies have staggering start-up costs, plus ongoing costs for machinery, electricity, labor, insurance, bonds, reclamation, employee benefits, etc., for every ton they ship. On the other hand, it takes two or three weeks to drill a gas or oil well, then it quietly sits and pumps million of dollars’ worth of your natural resources far away for decades at relatively no costs. Shouldn’t they pay at least as much as the coal companies?
12. Have you ever heard of a gas company going broke?
13. Have you ever heard of one losing money?
14. Why doesn’t the water company condemn all the gas lines and take them? A public utility can do that, you know, Equitable says so. Then just plug off the wells and use the pipelines to carry water to everyone. Doesn’t everyone already have a gas line going across their property? Just hook them up to the sink and you’re in business. At least we’d get some benefit from the gas companies. Some of the water might taste oily for awhile, but Whitesburg people are already used to it.