If you have a gas lease, your neighbor has a gas lease or if you live in a community that has a lot of gas leases, it is likely that the value of your property will decrease and it may become almost impossible for you to sell your home. This is because almost all banks and insurance companies consider gas-leased land to be an unacceptable risk and will not give mortgages on or refinance properties that are leased or have gas wells.

In today’s New York Times Ian Urbina examines these issues in depth:

“But bankers and real estate executives, especially in New York, are starting to pay closer attention to the fine print and are raising provocative questions, such as: What happens if they lend money for a piece of land that ends up storing the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool filled with toxic wastewater from drilling?” Click here for the complete article “Rush to Drill for Natural Gas Creates Conflicts With Mortgages”, NYT
Lenders such as the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and the Department of HUD (Housing and Urban Development) will not provide financing if surface or sub surface gas rights have been leased within 300 feet of a residential structure OR within 300 feet of property boundary lines.   This can affect you if one or more of your neighbors has leased, even if you haven’t, and can also affect you if you are subject to New York State’s compulsory integration laws, which allow wells to be drilled under your property if 60% or more of the property adjacent to you has gas leases.

Experts say that the inability to get mortgages for pending residential sales will eliminate as much as 90% of potential purchases. This dynamic will create a dramatic negative impact on property values due to their lack of marketability and therefore demand. As real estate values decrease, assessment rolls will be impacted and ultimately the tax base.  Some local communities will likely have no choice but to raise taxes to pay for the shortfall.
Communities are already seeing a softening of home sales as buyers are holding off making any investment until the issue of fracking is resolved. Ulster County real estate brokers report that the potential of hydrofracking is hurting their important second-home buying business. The permit conditions and regulations that the New York State DEC has released to govern hydraulic fracturing (the dSGEIS) makes little mention of how fracking will devalue property and lower tax assessments, nor does it provide any remedies to those affected.  In fact Section of the Document says about Propert Values:

“At this level of analysis, it is impossible to predict the actual impacts of developing the Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas reserves on individual property values. However, some predictions can be made with regard to the general impact of mineral rights on property values and the impact of well development on adjacent properties.

Revised Draft SGEIS 2011, Page 6-250, 6-251.”

This is only one of the many problems and issues that will affect you, your family and your community.  Click here to see a summary of what’s wrong with the DEC’s plan, and click here to submit written comments to the DEC.Tell Governor Cuomo and your legislators NOT to let fracking destroy your property values.  Click here to send them an email

There are a number of very important public hearings coming in November.  It’s critical that we get a huge turnout at each one.

            November 16 – Public Hearing on the dSGEIS – Dansville, NY

            November 17 – Public Hearing on the dSGEIS – Binghamton, NY

            November 21 – DRBC Hearing – Trenton, NJ

            November 29 –  Public Hearing on the dSGEIS – Loch Sheldrake, NY

            November 30 – Public Hearing on the dSGEIS – New York City

Click here for the dates and times
of the dSGEIS hearings, and here for more information on the DRBC hearing.  Use the  Catskill Mountainkeeper website as a resource. Get educated, especially about the health issues and threats.

Join over 3,600 people to ask Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Martens to extend the comment period on the dSGEIS to 180 days so a thorough review can be done. Sign our petition

Forward this message to your friends, family and neighbors and ask them to forward it on. Get educated, especially about the health issues and threats.

We are now in the end game.  Your support is needed now more than ever.  Please give as generously as you can.

Gear junkie: Through Catskill’s Devil’s Patch, fast and light travel is key


Gear junkie: Through Catskill’s Devil’s Patch, fast and light travel is key

STEPHEN REGENOLDThe Billings Gazette | Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 12:05 am



At just 27 miles long, the Devil’s Path, a route through New York’s Catskill Mountains, has earned the title of the “hardest hiking trail in the East.” It gets this name not from its length, but from the vertical nature of the trail — in those 27 miles the precipitous path climbs and descends six major mountain peaks for more than 14,000 vertical feet of elevation change.

Last week, with two friends and a backpack of lightweight gear, I struck out from the Devils Path’s western terminus on a mission to hike it as fast as I could. We trekked into the darkness at 10 p.m. the first day, our plan to hike through part of the night and finish by the following evening in a 24-hours-or-less effort.

Backpacking trips like this, often dubbed “fast and light,” are becoming common in the outdoors. Distance goals of 15 miles a day or more are attainable with today’s lighter gear. Companies know this and now put emphasis on cutting ounces and trimming products to make the essentials easier to carry in a pack.

In New York last week we attempted to embody the “fast and light” way in its extreme. Our packs were half the size of regular backpacking models. Zero luxuries and nothing extra was toted on the trail — we did not even bring a tent. Instead, waterproof bivy bags, which pack to the size of an iPhone, would serve to protect us from rain at night.

Our clothing, including tights and running shirts, skewed more“aerobic” than “outdoorsy.” I wore a pair of arm-warmers, the Windbreak Sleeve model from Wigwam, which are like socks for your arms. The removable sleeves, favored by bikers and triathletes, worked wonderfully as we hiked fast, allowing for instant adjustment and temperature regulation on my bare arms.

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