Letters to the Editor – Oct. 20

Dear Editor,
Recently I received my annual notice for my property taxes. I am not in favor of property taxes as they currently stand. A person never really owns their property, even when the mortgage is paid off. That should not be the American way to have the government holding your property hostage to a tax that never ends. While it is necessary for the county to raise money for the essentials of society, schools, roads, law enforcement, there should be a time when citizens are given ownership of their property, free and clear.
However, I would like to commend our County Treasurer, Mary Kuhl, for the outstanding job she has done in making it clear and easy to understand how our money is spent. The addition of the pie chart is imaginative and helpful. Information is power, and sharing the information in a way that is clear and easy to understand is  appreciated. Ms. Kuhl deserves our appreciation and respect for her great service; it is not her responsibility or her fault our taxes go up. She is the messenger of the deeds done by others, not the originator of the increases. In addition I would like to thank her staff; they are always helpful, polite and friendly. As a veteran I appreciate the help and attention they give me to facilitate my veteran’s exemption.
David Craig

Dear Editor:
Who is morally bankrupt and selfish? Someone who toils away earning profits and creating jobs by producing valuable goods and service through voluntary exchanges that improves the well-being of everyone involved? Or a misanthrope in the street claiming a “right” to someone else’s hard-earned money, whining about a loan for an education their mindlessness clearly illustrates is utterly worthless…………?
Initially I wanted to call the Wall Street protesters Bolsheviks, but that would be too flattering implying a level of sinister competence they simply do not possess. These morally bankrupt vandals are no more directed or civilized than a pack of hyenas encircling those who appear to be easy political prey. They have little if any vision, goals or thoughts beyond the Marxist Class Warfare Slogans instilled in them by their liberal professors allegedly directed towards helping the poor. Mother Teresa did not loiter and whine in a park; she reverently worked to address the needs of the destitute: helping more people in one lifetime than these protesters would or could collectively help in 1,000 years.
The protesters represent the most contemptible side of human nature: their envy surpasses any sin found in any corporation or in the decried industrialists who built this nation. The protesters want to enslave the productive members of society to fund their statist causes. Their contempt for American values such as liberty, individual responsibility and capitalism is unparalleled. They have no conception of the principles of hard work, ingenuity, integrity, and self-reliance that built the greatest nation to ever grace God’s earth.
We should recognize these protests for what they are: the continuation of a century-long systematic effort by progressives to subvert the American value system. Progressives have long insisted God is a lie, our nation is no better than any other if not worse, capitalism is evil, and that humans are nothing more than savage animals that cannot safely be entrusted to manage their own affairs.
We must demolish the shrine of the state and embrace self-evident, eternal truths. We have been endowed with our natural rights by our Creator – not by government. America has done more to advance the cause of liberty than any other force in the history of mankind. Capitalism has done more to raise humanity’s material existence than any other system ever devised. Americans are decent people with a God-given right to self-determination, which we are fully capable of exercising. The only thing that stands between you and your dreams is your own will and a government that has become destructive to the ends for which it was created.
Otto Schlosser

Dear Editor,
In response to recent articles concerning Oneok Partners Bakken Pipeline, Progressive Pathways, LLC is compelled to explain the implications to landowners and the goals of our organization. We are a group of affected landowners assembled to protect landowner property rights and safety, as well as attempt to negotiate the best possible terms and conditions for easement, but not prevent the pipeline from being constructed. We as landowners feel it to be very important to make the general public aware that a natural gas liquids pipeline such as the one proposed by Oneok has very few regulatory safeguards for construction, operation, and protection of the property in which it crosses.
Our membership has devoted countless hours to producing a proposed easement to be presented to Oneok. The major areas of concern are landowner liability, reclamation, abandonment of the pipeline, safety and compensation.
The pipeline will be owned and operated by a limited liability company, and the most any investor will have at risk is their investment in the company. On the other hand, the landowner’s risk and liability is unlimited. Given the chance that an unfortunate event such as pipeline malfunction or rupture could occur and regardless of who is at fault, the landowner due to injury or incurred legal costs, stands to lose important assets including: life, land, and business.
As the pipeline ages two thing are likely to happen; sale and/or abandonment. If the pipeline should sell it is very likely that any new owner will have less interest and financial ability to fulfill the terms of the easement. When abandonment occurs, we are concerned that a future owner may not have the resources to properly decommission the pipeline; in that event the landowner may become liable for any problems arising from the neglect.
Reclamation is also a very major concern of Progressive Pathways, LLC. We have worked very closely with Conservation Districts and Weed and Pest Districts, in some counties to assist, with a construction, reclamation and mitigation plan. We are very determined to address ways to minimize the permanent scarring of the land, and to restore the area to its original production.
Our members are also very troubled by safety issues surrounding the pipeline. Oneok representatives have told us, the pipeline will operate at a pressure of approximately 1400 pounds per square inch; if the pipeline ever ruptures, the explosion and ensuing fire could be catastrophic. To help address this, we are attempting to negotiate an adequate depth of burial to help minimize the potential of accidental damage to the pipeline by shallow digging farm implements such as posthole augers, plows, or other similar equipment.
Lastly, we will attempt to negotiate compensation. To many, it may seem to be of the most importance, but to our members the other issues have equal or greater standing. It is important to remember that everyone involved with Oneok will be doing so with the intent of profiting. Landowners are the only ones involved that are forced into the process, are required to accept risk they cannot control and have no opportunity to share in the revenue. We will attempt to negotiate for an annual payment, and make the pipeline an asset to the landowner, rather than a liability.
All these issues have been addressed in a proposed easement that we have presented to Oneok Partners. At each meeting with Oneok, representatives have stated repeatedly, that Oneok is a very financially strong company that works hard to address landowner concerns. Mick Urban who is in charge of Oneok Government Relations told the Niobrara County Commissioners on October 5, 2011 that he had been in contact with the Oneok people responsible for reviewing the Progressive Pathways, LLC proposed easement. He stated that 80-90% of our easement appeared to be workable. Progressive Pathways LLC has proposed an easement that is closely patterned after agreements that have previously been negotiated by large landowner groups, and accepted and signed by major pipeline companies. Due to the large size of our group and the political connections we have formed, we are hopeful that we can address all areas of concern in the easement for our members.
Progressive Pathways, LLC is still accepting membership. Anyone having questions should contact Pat Wade (307) 334-2425 or Danny Hanson (307) 334-3357.
Patrick Wade, Chairman
Dan Hanson, Treasurer