Grassroots Alberta Landowners Association
Grassroots Alberta Landowners Association: Working with Local Landowners on Pipeline and Powerline Projects
Grassroots Alberta Landowners Association is available to work with groups of landowners when their property is affected by pipeline and powerline projects. For some years now, several larger non-profit landowner associations backed by experienced landowner rights lawyers, have been working with landowners when these projects cross private land.
Acting in this manner can help ensure that landowners obtain agreements that are more comprehensive than any one landowner could achieve on his own. The process also ensures that genuine landowner concerns related to liability, construction standards, environment, safety, and bio-security can be resolved and addressed.
Jim Ness on the Grassroots Alberta Story
Wilson on Property Rights
I have farmed in eastern Alberta for over 40 years. Like many other landowners, over time, I’ve come to understand and fully appreciate how we all strive to be better stewards of our land, and also, that we each want to be treated fairly when it comes to our rights as landowners.
About ten years ago now, I learned that some of my neighbours had been taken advantage of by the oil and gas companies that were developing projects on their land. I could understand how that might happen, because twenty years earlier I had signed a gas well lease agreement that I never even read. I simply took the land agent’s word for everything. He said, sign here on the bottom of the last page, so I did.
Since then, I’ve learned that it’s quite normal for a lot of landowners to do that kind of thing. Yet if you think about it, a signature by an uninformed landowner on a legal agreement that transfers legal rights to someone else. has a kind of craziness to it. The more I thought about what I had foolishly done, and what had been happening to my neighbours, the more irritated I grew.
As a result, in 2004, I determined that I was going to take the Land Agent Course through Olds College so I could write the exam and become a licensed landowner advocate. I wanted to keep farming and still raise cattle, yet at the same time, assist landowners when they negotiated pipeline and energy agreements with gas and oil companies.
In the years since, I’ve worked on many hundreds of negotiations. I have also worked on a number of major pipeline and powerline negotiations, where working alongside legal counsel we have negotiated far reaching agreements. I am fortunate in that throughout this process I’ve helped to set new precedents that have tremendously helped landowners affirm their legal and financial rights.
n 2008, I organized the landowners who lived along the route of a proposed major pipeline project. That project involved two large diameter pipes. The landowners on that project developed an organization specifically for that corridor. They called it the Alberta Association of Pipeline Landowners, and asked me to be president.
Some of the landowners who joined that negotiating group had already signed easement agreements with the pipeline company, in large part, because they didn't fully know the issues. When our landowner group finished negotiating with the pipeline company, we achieved compensation levels that were at least ten times higher than many of these landowners had originally accepted.
Unlike that earlier landowner organization that we established, which was specifically designed to deal with that one pipeline route, Grassroots Alberta was set up to work with landowners on a province wide basis. We felt we had to do something province wide, not just to work with landowners on negotiations with energy companies, but to promote property rights, fiscal responsibility, and to help landowners become more familiar with their legal rights, and with what the provincial government has been doing to erode and eliminate landowner rights.
Lawyer Keith Wilson spoke in Calgary at the Canadian Property Rights Conference. His presentation, touches on all the significant elements of the property rights debate that have occurred in Alberta these past years. This video is the most comprehensive and easy to understand presentation about property rights in the province that people will see..
Professor Aeon Skoble explains that it is definitely possible for democracies to promote freedom, but that they do not guarantee freedom. He explains how:
1) The majority’s belief in something does not necessarily mean that it's true.
2) Majorities are capable of being just as tyrannical as kings
3) Historically, it is proven that democracies have actually elected tyrannical leaders.
When freedom is the primary value of a society, democracy is a useful tool, so long as there are boundaries that protect the rights of the individual.
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