Letter to the Editor: Fracking vs. Land Values

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To The Editor,

A majority of Delaware County Supervisors have stated that they are in favor of Fracking for Natural Gas. In my local area, these include the supervisors of Middletown, Andes, Bovina, and Roxbury.

The Supervisors might change their position if they became more informed. They would then be able to see the consequences, perhaps unintended, of fracking on local land, property and home prices.

Gas leases are generally not acceptable by home mortgage lenders or the FHA. This applies to anyone where drilling takes place under or near their land, even if there is no well pad on their land.

NY State title insurance is not available if the property is used for gas drilling, a commercial activity.

Potential home buyers are being negatively influenced by media coverage. They fear toxic fracking fluids, air pollution, radioactivity, damaged roads and round the clock noise. They are not going to take the chance of moving to an area where property prices may drop forcing taxes to rise on those who remain.

The bottom line is that with fracking you won’t be able to sell your land or home unless it’s for cash. A buyer who needs a mortgage will be out of luck. An owner who needs a home equity or improvement loan will be shut out. This will drive down home and land prices.

By supporting fracking our supervisors are influencing Albany and the public. In the process they are asking for legislation which will surely take away our right to try to protect our land and home from physical and environmental degradation and loss of value. Our property rights are on the line.

Regarding leasing his property for gas drilling, Mr. Utter, Supervisor of Middletown, stated he “might consider it”. See Catskill Mountain News 4/26/2011.

To Mr. Utter I ask… If you make money on a gas lease, and fracking your land becomes your reality, will you still want to live there after it becomes an industrial zone without your accustomed quiet, rural, safe and healthy quality of life that you now enjoy? And if you find out over time that you want to take the money and relocate, how will you be able to sell your home and land?

Fracking here has huge irreversible consequences. Supervisors, please act thoughtfully and responsibly to protect our homes, land and property rights.

Robert Lidsky, Andes

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