LETTER: Is fracking worth it?

Apr. 09, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

Last July, Nationwide Insurance spelled out specifically that it would not provide coverage for damage related to fracking. Risks involved with hydraulic fracturing are now prohibited for General Liability, Commercial Auto, Motor Truck Cargo and Auto Physical Damage (http://www.nationwide.com/about-us/071312-nw-statement-on-fracking.jsp).

State Employees’ Credit Union in North Carolina and the N.C. Housing Finance Agency officially have decided they will no longer approve mortgage financing for properties where the drilling rights have been sold off to someone else. The credit union, which manages almost $12 billion in residential mortgages, said it considers loans on such land to be riskier than those where the mineral rights remain with the land (http://raleighpublicrecord.org/fracking-2/2012/05/30/your-gas-and-you-lessons-for-landowners-in-the-state-fracking-report/).

Federal lending and mortgage institutions (FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) all have prohibitions against lending on properties where drilling is taking place or where hazardous materials are stored. A drilling lease on a property financed through one of these agencies would result in a ”technical default.” FHA’s guidelines also don’t allow it to finance mortgages where homes are within 300 feet of an active or planned drilling site. Also see http://bit.ly/1dIen28.

In a 2013 survey of 550 people conducted by business researchers at the University of Denver, a strong majority said they would decline to buy a home near drilling site. The study, published in the Journal of Real Estate Literature, also showed that people bidding on homes near fracking locations reduced their offers by up to 25 percent.

Recently the Exxon CEO, Rex Tillerson, filed a lawsuit against a fracking project near his farm because it will affect his property value. This scenario is the perfect example of corporate hypocrisy.

My question to you is if mortgage institutions are not lending to fracked properties, insurance companies will not cover damages linked to fracking, and property values will decline due to this industrial takeover, is it really worth it? Not to mention the obscene use of water [and the effect to] air quality for miles, [as well as the] ruining of our rural roads and an increase of heavy-duty truck accidents. I like my neighbors; I won’t be signing a lease.

Keely Wood