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Water Source a Deciding Factor in Property Value

A Duke University and Resources for the Future study found that the most significant factor in the impact of oil and gas development near residential property is whether water is piped in or sourced on-site from a well.

Based in Washington County, PA, the study found that property with on-site wells lost 13 percent of their value.

Fracking in residential areas impacts the property value of both lease owners and their neighbors.

Another study by Integra Realty Resources in Flower Mound, TX, looked at the relationship between property value and proximity to wells. It concluded that properties with houses that were less than 750 feet away from a drill site experienced an average sales price drop of 2-7 percent.

Mortgages

Oil and gas leases have also made it more difficult to get a new mortgage or refinance and can even constitute a technical default on an existing mortgage. Depending on the site of the well, leases can also affect neighbor's mortgages due to setback violations or requirements, or uncertain future property value.

Last year, Jack and Carol Pyhtila spent several weeks working to refinance the mortgage on their roughly 30 acres in Tompkins County, NY. But when they arrived to sign the mortgage, the lender, Visions Federal Credit Union, had taken a closer look at the lease on their land and revoked its offer, said Mr. Pyhtila, 72.

Of course, making it more difficult to get a mortgage isn't going to make selling a property with a lease any easier.

Oil Boom Pushes Seniors Out of Homes

The rush to drill has led many single young men and family men to places like Williston, ND, for a shot at financial comeback. 

As the Williston Herald reported, apartments that used to rent for $400 a month five years ago are going for four times that today, and homes that sold for $60,000 are now on the market for $200,000.

While this may sound like a dream for local residents, some, particularly senior citizens and people on fixed income, have found that they are no longer able to afford their rent and have been forced to move.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

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Clean Air Council

After delaying compilation of a Marcellus Shale emissions inventory for a year, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requested the data necessary to compile a 2011 inventory by next December. DEP must submit a statewide inventory of emissions from all stationary sources to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by Dec. 31, 2012.

DEP notified potentially affected Marcellus Shale owners and operators of the new reporting requirements Dec. 6, 2011, and indicated that the data is due by March 1, 2012. While PA DEP reported that they notified 99 owners and operators, they counted each company up to four times for each address they sent the notification to and failed to send the reporting requirements to many large operators in the Marcellus Shale. According to state law, only those owners and operators who have been advised by DEP to submit a source report are required to do so.

The Clean Air Council submitted an inquiry Jan. 2 to DEP Secretary Michael Krancer requesting clarification on how DEP identified potentially affected owners and operators, and how they intend to meet the deadline for reporting to the EPA if the data is incomplete.

Emission inventories are fundamental building blocks used to develop air quality control strategies on a local, regional and national level. Emission inventories are also used to track accountability and assess air quality program effectiveness.

“Each stage of Marcellus Shale operations emits harmful air pollution and an emissions inventory is an essential tool to protect Pennsylvania’s air quality,” said Joseph Otis Minott, esq., executive director of the Clean Air Council. “It is unclear how PA DEP can impose monitoring and reporting requirements upon a portion of the Marcellus Shale industry at the end of 2011 and expect a complete inventory.”

For more information, click here.

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