Protecting the Land
“The driving factor behind founding a group like Northwest Landowners Association (NWLA) was morals,” reports Troy Coons, chairman of NWLA. On several occasions, Troy and other founding members had witnessed people being taken advantage of by industry developers. Troy and other founding members understood the difficulty for the average person to understand all of the legal terminology, processes, law changes and regulations involved with contracts used in resource development.
In the beginning the association worked mostly with wind development in the Stanley area. As the development of natural resources has spanned much of North Dakota, the need for a group who is solely devoted to landowners’ rights was essential. Most farmers and ranchers rarely deal directly with legal contracts related to industrial development. For this reason they are likely to, unknowingly, accept offers that are written in a manner to protect and benefit the business or developer and not the landowner. While these contracts are legal they are not “just.” In North Dakota there are only a few legal specialists who will understand the true risks and liabilities for the landowner when accepting these “flashy” offers.
With the most recent lawsuit, Northwest Landowners Association V. The State of North Dakota, NWLA took a stand to protect every North Dakota resident, as all residents of N.D. are an owner of Trust Lands. This year, the Northeast Judicial District Court issued its decision in favor of the NWLA, finding that pore space is a vested right of surface owners and surface owners have a right to compensation for use of their pore space. They concluded that S.B. 2344 constitutes a “taking” under both the federal and state constitutions.
Northwest Landowners Association’s mission is to provide unbiased education regarding current and past resource development processes, bring together those with similar issues to solve common problems, help develop comprehensive legislation rules and guidelines to protect our resources well into the future, and ensure a more harmonious coexistence between landowners, residents, and industry. Today, the association has grown to over 600 members including landowners from all over the state. We welcome you to become a member and get involved in protecting your rights for generations to come. Visit us at NDLANDRIGHTS.COM.
*Northwest Landowners Association is funded solely through memberships and donations.