You've got shale

Fear of fracking is everywhere, and it's starting to affect the whims of potential real estate buyers in Sullivan County, writes David Knudsen of the Sullivan County Real Estate blog. Yesterday, he recounted a conversation he had with a friend and potential customer who has been told that properties that are "off the shale" are the only way to go: 

Her friends used the phrase "buy off the shale", a term being bandied about that conveys a sense of being a savvy upstate insider. Like, "hey, man, we're going to pack up the VW bus and head off shale." Or more likely, in this day and age, the Lexus SUV or Subaru Forester, but you get the point.

Knudsen managed to talk his friend out of this anti-shale mindset by arguing that just being located atop the Marcellus shale doesn't automatically mean that your land -- or your neighbor's land -- will be subject to natural gas drilling:

The second listing I pulled up was a home in a lake community on a small lake in the Beaverkill Valley. Most of the unbuilt acreage in the surrounding area is covered by conservation easements managed by the Open Space Institute, as is much of the property further north in the Beaverkill Valley. So even indirect impacts from factors like truck traffic on this particular property is minimal, as I think it's highly unlikely that there will be much, if any, gas drilling in the Beaverkill Valley, even though it's not within the NYC watershed.

But a commenter on Knudsen's blog points out that the realtor's best guesses are still just that -- guesses:

Your discussion of "direct" and "indirect" impacts cites "actual drilling" and "well activity" and increased truck traffic. You do not discuss something that can't be limited by surface circumstances like easements and property owners' attitudes: the effect on the underground aquifer from fracking. Water moves underground, over large distances, ignorant of conservation easements on the surface. Shattering underground rock formations has -- what effect on the flow of the aquifer? Do you know? Does anyone?