by Lane Haley, Perryton, Texas
As a native Texan, my reasons stem from Texas herself. The land, and the freedom she provides, is in my blood. More than 100 years ago, my great grandfather moved to the Texas Panhandle from central Missouri. He bought the first 640 acres of our ranch/farm from the railroad in the late 1890’s and moved here in a covered wagon around 1900 leaving his wife behind of her own decision.
For the next several years he worked the land, raised cattle, and built a home where there was nothing before. There were no neighbors, no roads, no fences, and no towns. He made numerous trips back to Missouri until he finally convinced my great grandmother, afraid to raise her son, my grandfather, on her own, to move here with him.
The condition of the move was a 2 story Missouri-style farm house. He built that house with his own hands to her specifications, and it stands there in the center of our ranch as a testimony of his dedication to the land and to his family. My great grandfather passed the land on to his son, who passed it on to my dad, who passed it on to me. For 4 generations we have worked the same land, pouring our blood sweat and tears into it through droughts, depressions, and wars; each with the hope that he can make it a little bigger than it was before and pass it along to his children. The land has made my family. We are the land. Today, I am the first generation to see the hope of that dream torn away by the hands of a despotic government.
The United States Constitution guarantees us numerous rights and liberties, but the ones most essential and inalienable are those of life, liberty, and property. As I am writing this entry, there are scores of constitution maggots in DC working to erode those very rights which we hold dear. The finest examples of this are the two pieces of legislation currently awaiting a vote: cap-and-trade and health care.
These two pieces of legislation are heinous by design. Health care, simply put, gives the government command of every aspect of an individual’s life, effectively turning citizens into subjects. Once the government owns an individual’s health, the government owns the individual, and every right guaranteed under the first 8 amendments of the US Constitution can be circumnavigated on the bases of public health and cost to the government. In fact, cap-and-trade can be implemented under the health care bill as a means to provide a healthier, and thereby more cost effective, environment for the population. The health care bill decimates the constitution and our personal freedoms denying us of liberty and, in some cases, life.
Cap-and-Trade threatens to deny many of us property. Woven in the fabric of the bill is an energy policy defunct of logic. It allocates billions of dollars for, and prioritizes alternative energy sources whose technologies do not work, and which take enormous amounts of land in order to be even remotely viable. The most prominent of these is wind-generated electricity. An average natural gas well requires less than one surface acre and produces energy consistently 365 days/ year. In order to produce the same amount of energy as a single gas well producing 2,000 MCF/ day, it requires 640 acres of turbines spaced 200 feet apart. Additionally, wind turbines only produce energy about 30% of the time. Since these companies do not own, and cannot afford to purchase at market price, the huge tracts of acreage required for their wind farms, they must either lease the land from surface owners or use eminent domain to acquire the land.
Oil and Gas Leases are an equitable agreement between the energy companies and the land owners. By contrast, the wind leases tend to be stacked entirely in favor of the wind company causing most land owners to reject the offers of wind companies and deny them access to their land. With a government push to move the nation toward “green energy”, it is implicit in the bill that such a move will be made at all costs.
As you read this, people in my area are being demonized by these companies for not agreeing to inequitable arrangements that favor only the wind company and threaten the property rights and sovereignty of the landowner over his/her own land. The move is already being made toward eminent domain by a number of these companies using federal subsidy dollars to back their initiatives. Mesa Energy (that’s T. Boone Pickens for those of you unfamiliar with his company name), among others, is already working the eminent domain route for wind in addition to water rights. While this argument sounds on the surface like a straw man, it is already happening with backing from the federal government through massive subsidies which these companies use to fund every aspect of their enterprises. Once the issue is prioritized through legislation, the effects will be magnified through direct government intervention. If the federal government decides that this is a priority, those of us in wind rich areas stand threatened by a massive federal land grab, clearly denying us of property.
The afterthought to this bill is the fact that it also places a direct assault on oil & gas, and agriculture; potentially putting greater than 3 million Texans out of work, costing the State an estimated $1.5 billion per year, and bankrupting our economy. It decimates the 10th amendment under the auspices of the 9th by mandating federal zoning laws, building codes, and business regulation on every edifice and entity in the US, thereby denying the people the right to self regulation and determination in their own communities, towns and states.
These ideas and their effects are not Texas. Texas is not, and never has been, open to socialism, despotism, or the oppression of her people. Texas is freedom. Everyone who has come here from the time of the Spanish conquistadors, to the colonists under Stephen F. Austin, to the corporate transplants of today have been transformed by Texas. I’ve lived in a lot of places, both in the United States and abroad, and there is no place as free or as beautiful as Texas. Texas creates Texans. Her plains and canyons extend indefinitely covered by an endless sky so blue you can touch it, ever calling to the traveler to take wings and fly. Her waters whisper to the dreamer to set sail in search of untold riches promised upon her shores. Her most desolate land springs forth bounty beyond imagination allowing her people to thrive. Her fertile soil bestows its gifts upon her people even in the harshest climates. The wind blowing across her plains and through the oaks, pines, and mesquite decry her untamed nature while ushering in every manner of blessing.
Whether it is a rolling thunderstorm in the panhandle, a hurricane in the Gulf, or the gentle rain of the piney woods, Texas is wild, extreme, and free, and full of blessing at every turn. She creates a people and a culture unique among the nations. She has molded us, and shaped us, and given us vision unlike any place else in the world. Texas creates Texans. Texas longs to be free today just as she has since the Spanish first explored her. She doesn’t deserve the confinement of an ever encroaching federal/ socialist system from distances far outside her borders. She deserves to be free and her people deserve independence. She deserves to be returned to her own. She deserves to be allowed to stand on her own, a bastion of freedom for the world to envy. Let her stand on her own. She is freedom. She is Texas!
Lane Haley, Perryton, Texas
Mr. Haley describes himself as a 37 year old, rancher and petroleum landman with a wife and two beautiful children.
Attributed to The Cypress Times