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What's the point of "owning" land if eminent domain exists?

 
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I read an article this morning about some things to consider before buying land for homesteading. Briefly, property access rights, stream usage laws, mineral rights, timber rights, easements, utility availability, chemical pollution, zoning and community attitudes. My question is about mineral rights, wherein this article discusses a horror story where a guy buys an ideal piece of land. He is convinced by the realtor that mineral rights don't really matter. They don't. Except for 20 years later when coal is discovered under his land; he comes home to seeing one part of his property already bulldozed. It goes without saying, I don't want this to happen to me or anybody else. But I have come to realize that property is almost always sold without the mineral rights underneath it. Even if it was, the government "representatives" can send people to steal your land out from under you, and if you don't comply you will be thrown in a cage (jail) or shot for defending your property. "But that's the price we pay for living in a free society". Give me a fucking break. Do you have any ideas regarding this, perhaps something I missed? Thanks....Jack.
 
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Has never happened in the past doesn't mean it won't happen in the future. A 1% chance can be a 100% chance to you specifically.

If percentages were absolute, there's no real reason to  play out that hand of poker. Its clear i have 80% chance to win. Why bother? Oh, right. 80% is not 100%.

I passed on my first homestead. Actually i took a weekend to mull it over. It was the first time i heard "owners are keeping the mineral rights". Natural gas had been found over the last few areas in my area. After mulling, i was still gonna buy it but it got sold over those 2 days.we found a better place so all is well.
 
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I think you just have to play the odds.  If gas/coal is common in your area, consider that in your land purchase.  If it isn't common, your odds are very very good that the mineral rights won't matter.  If major utility hubs aren't near your place and it isn't along major corridors of power/gas, they are less likely to put a high voltage line through your back yard.
 
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I think the point of owning land if eminent domain exists is that I don't have a choice.  Mineral rights or not, if the state or federal government decides they want my land for a pipeline or highway or whatever, they are probably going to get.  So what do I do about it?  Not buying land because I'm worried that I might lose it seems like cutting off my nose to spite my face.  I live my life without owning land because there is some small (probably tiny) chance that I will lose it?

Cross-posted with Mike...
 
Levi Estone
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Mike Jay wrote:I think you just have to play the odds.  If gas/coal is common in your area, consider that in your land purchase.  If it isn't common, your odds are very very good that the mineral rights won't matter.  If major utility hubs aren't near your place and it isn't along major corridors of power/gas, they are less likely to put a high voltage line through your back yard.


Alright, we've got mineral rights cleared up. So what about eminent domain?
 
wayne fajkus
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Abuses of eminant domain sucks. I doubt anyone thinks a farm should be taken for an industrial project, school,  shopping center, sports arena, etc. I think whole populaces get outraged about it.

A centuries old water rights law sucks. Someone else owning the rain falling on your land....But you know its there going in. Kind of like mineral rights, except there is no maybe cause you cant collect from day 1 and its known upfront.this makes the decision process easy, there's no percentage gamble.

 
Levi Estone
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I think I've found the answer...these maps sift out much of the problems one may encounter with mineral rights...
USA Map of Oil & Gas Drilling / Fracking Sites and Health & Safety Issues...



 
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Ah yes. I have my mineral rights actually. It involved a big lawsuit but we have them. I'm upset and they aren't even drilling on my land. They're drilling in the wheat field in front of us. I didn't move to the country to hear giant fans or be exposed to smoke stacks. It's a blight on the landscape no matter how much money we may, or may not, receive.

Even not having it on our land we have increased crime to deal with. Increased traffic on roads not designed to handle it. Plus that traffic cares not a whit about anyone else, driving excessively fast and erratically. Basically the oil boom is going to kill my family. If the toxins don't get us the trucks will.
 
Mike Jay
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Jack Billford wrote:Alright, we've got mineral rights cleared up. So what about eminent domain?


I think in that case you have to look at what they would want to be eminent about.  If you have 5 acres next to a freeway and in between the freeway and a growing town, there's a chance they'd put an interchange there and take your land.  Now if you were 2 miles away on the other side of the freeway from the town, you'd likely be very very safe.  So for most causes of eminent domain (highways, industrial sites, military bases, etc), I'm guessing you can step back and evaluate the prospective land and have a halfway decent idea about if it will be desirable to the government or not.
 
wayne fajkus
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Thats no guarantee mike. At least in a growing area. They create new roads looping around the city. Then that loop around creates new businesses, new roads,  etc.

Toll roads displace  interstate flows way around the main town.
 
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i'm pretty sure I'm just renting my land from the State (local, in this case) because I have to pay property tax for land that I already paid for.  Why do I have to pay rent on land I supposedly own?  Because it is part of the State and the money goes to providing services for me and others who belong to the State.

Eminent domain is just a more extreme example of the State indicating that it still owns the land, even though I "bought" it.

 
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Jack Billford wrote: But I have come to realize that property is almost always sold without the mineral rights underneath it.



I highly doubt this is the case.

I own a lot of land, and not only do I own the mineral rights to all of it, I own the mineral rights to the center of the earth under that land.

Land ownership means you bought a series of rights, think of them as a bundle of Asparagus. Depending on previous owners, they might have "sold" off those orginal rights. It depends on what part of the country you are from too, since out west, mineral rights, and water rights are traded differently than here in Maine. Rights-of-Way, Timber Rights, farming Rights, Recreational Rights, etc.

Most of the time, land ownership is about asserting what is yours. For instance, it is against the law to bulldoze stumps when clearing forest into field for agricultural puposes. However, it is perfectly legal for me to bulldoze any stump I want, anywhere I want, for the harvesting of wood. Really? I can push stumps out of the way for logging, but I cannot to feed a hungary nation? That is bovine pasture droppings. So who is going to stop me? I know the District Attorneys office sure isn't, not with the State Police, Sheriff's Department, Game Wardens, Forest Rangers, Marine Patrol, Department of Environmental Protection, etc, etc, etc. All those cases must get funneled through ONE office who have limited staff. As long as the general population is not in physical harm, they are not going to do anything. Even if they tried, words like, "Do you really think a jury of my peers is going to side with you?" "Who has been killed here? And "You do not have bigger cases to prosecute?"

The point is, government agents always say no when anyone asks because it makes them feel important. I had one Forest Ranger show up on my logging site, all puffed up like a blowfish with a subpoena in his hand for me to appear before the Grand Jury. I told him three times, "I am protected by council, not going to say a word until I talk to my attorney". Since he would not take my right to council seriously, I filed charges against him and the Grand Jury was never conveyed.

I have gone toe to toe with the Department of Environmental Protection twice and won, and won a major case against the Federal Government.

I am NOT being a Keyboard Cowboy here, the point is, you lose your rights as a landowner when you let them take them. As a Christian I recognize governmental authority and an subjected to them, but it does not mean I let them walk all over me simply because they want to puff up like a blowfish because they feel authoritative.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Travis Johnson wrote:

Jack Billford wrote: But I have come to realize that property is almost always sold without the mineral rights underneath it.



I highly doubt this is the case.



It depends on the state.  In Texas the mineral rights are often owned by a third party.  The mineral rights to our land here belong to a dead guy who seems to have no surviving heirs.  We have not pursued this to find out if the mineral rights now belong to the state or what.  Fortunately there are no valuable minerals, or oil or gas, etc in our locale.
 
Levi Estone
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"you lose your rights as a landowner when you let them take them."
What if one doesn't have the tens of thousands of dollars to wage a legal battle?
 
pollinator
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That's a far-fetched interpretation of taxation.

You pay taxes for the services you are provided in society, including policing, the judiciary, infrastructure, etc.

What that essentially translates to is that you are paying for the expectation that you will be able to work and live without having to worry about someone, or some country, coming along and taking the fruit of your labour away. You are also paying for the ability to transport any goods you produce in a cost-effective manner to market, and to exchange those goods for currency, which can then be exchanged for the goods of others.

You see where I'm going with this?

The anti-tax rant is old, and it has no legs to stand on. If you want to get down to brass tacks about what, exactly, the government should be spending your tax dollars on, there are a number of avenues for you to pursue.

Everything should be spelled out in the purchase agreement. If it doesn't specify that it includes mineral rights, that should be looked into before purchase.

As to municipalities expanding and taking your land for the next bypass or whatever, well that's a great reason to locate one's land off the beaten path, and away from any booming metropoli.

-CK
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm not thrilled with property taxes, but to me they seem like a pretty good deal compared to the tolls I might have to pay if each landowner required payment for me to pass through their property each time I need to get to town - we all own ("rent from the state") out to the middle of the road, and have granted the county an easement for the public road through our properties.
 
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As interesting as this topic is, it has clearly become a political discussion.

Politics are restricted to the cider press.  If you have enough apples, you are encouraged to continue the conversation there.  

This thread is now locked.
 
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