Water Defense has just released their latest anti-natural gas drilling video, attempting to shed some light on what the reality is about leasing your land for natural gas drilling or selling off the mineral rights.
As Water Defense explains, in the video, Dimock residents Craig and Julie Sauntner discuss their inability to sell their home, which is now worthless because it lacks a clean source of water.It's a short clip, and there are some compelling anecdotes in there, but the nitty gritty info has been compiled by Water Defense into a Natural Gas Exxposed fact sheet. It covers a lot of info, but these are the two sections apropos to the video above:
Gas drilling destroys property values: From Texas to Wyoming to Pennsylvania, countless homeowners have learned the cruel truth that a home without clean water is essentially valueless. Many homeowners dealing with contamination have had their property values slashed by 75 or 80 percent by professional appraisers, but have been unable to find buyers—at any price. These families are often stuck paying mortgages on homes they can no longer live in safely, with no one to turn to for help. Gas companies have no obligation to compensate homeowners for the loss of their shelter, or the long-term loss of their “nest egg.” For some, destroyed land is also destroyed income. Farmers have watched as companies that told them at lease-signing, “You’ll never even know we’re here” instead built roads and toxic wastewater pools on their best fields, leaving their animals with no place to graze and their crop yields insufficient to pay their bills.
Promises of big royalties don’t pan out: Gas companies convince many landowners to sign away their rights with big promises that they’ll be able to retire rich. Tales of “shaleionaires” striking it rich are touted far and wide as evidence that drilling can be the answer to all your prayers, but such fairy tale happy endings are few and far between. Between deceptive leases, shady business practices, and lackluster well performance, many landowners have the same word of caution for others in their position, “It wasn’t worth it.” While data on royalty payments is not collected, we do know that the amount of gas produced by shale formations has been far less than the initial hype suggested. Industry insiders have called shale gas a “ponzi scheme” on par with Enron, because companies inflated projections on the amount of shale gas in the ground to drum up investment, only to have expectations fall far short. The U.S. Geological Survey found that there was 80 percent less gas in the Marcellus Shale than many companies had long claimed, meaning that most leaseholders in the Marcellus are in for a bad surprise. The Federal Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York State Attorney General are now looking into whether companies committed fraud by misleading their investors. But who’s looking out for the landowners?