Look at the timeframe the company has locked in contracts for the sale of natural gas and oil. It is out there, so you can guarantee income for a few more years. If you thin oil will be at a much lower number in 3 or 5 years, the company won't make the same amount. If oil and natural gas sell for the same or more we are good. I'd stick with the idea that we are not going to see energy selling for much lower in the long term. I'd buy, and have.
Most MLPs did not cut their distributions. Only a handful did.
Many midstream MLPs (although not the E&Ps) went right oin increasing the distributions right through the crash, even when their unit prices were being decimated.
The distribution is stable primarily because Linn is nicely hedged into 2017. I personally consider the company as an income vehicle, much more like a bond than a stock. Some hedge funds have been spreading misinformation about the company, to which Linn has convincingly replied on their website, but most investors don't seem to read that and, unfortunately, accept what the self-aggrandizing short players declare at face value.
Linn has also had a few one-off problems the last quarter, although the entirety of 2013 promises to be a good year. Subsequent years look even better, especially with the forthcoming Berry acquisition. So while I wouldn't buy Linn with capital appreciation in mind, there should certainly be a climb into the 40's over the coming years. That would make the January, 2015 options at strikes of 33 and 35 (I own both) especially interesting.