September 20, 2017

Home Mortgages, Homeowner Liability Affected by Gas Drilling

New York State Bar Association Journal
November/December 2011, Vol. 83, No. 9, lead article

“. . . issues not often discussed, such as the owner’s potential liability and the continued viability of the mortgage.”

“Residential fracking carries heavy industrial risks, and the ripple effects could be tremendous. Homeowners can be confronted with uninsurable property damage for activities that they cannot control.”

Homeowners and Gas Drilling Leases:
Boon or Bust?

gas drilling in Dimock, PA
Gas Drilling in Dimock, PA

By Elisabeth N. Radow
Photos by J. Henry Fair and lighthawk

The Conundrum

Gas companies covet the shale gas deposits lying under homes and farms in New York’s Marcellus Shale region and are pursuing leasing agreements with area property owners. Many homeowners and farmers in need of cash are inclined to say yes. In making their argument, gas companies reassure property owners that the drilling processes and chemicals used are safe. Yet aside from arguments about the relative safety of the extraction process are issues not often discussed, such as the owner’s potential liability and the continued viability of the mortgage. The property owner can be particularly vulnerable when the drilling process involves high- volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

For example, when Ellen Harrison signed a gas lease agreement in 2008, READ MORE . . .NY State Bar Association Journal 11/12/2011