Gas Leasing and Impact on Homeowners

By Michelle Costanza

September 28, 2012 Updated Sep 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Homeowners should take caution before signing a gas lease, according to some experts.

Potential risks and issues were brought to light Thursday night at the Vestal Public Library.

The League of Women Voters and Vestal Residents for Safe Energy hosted a presentation to inform the community about this controversial topic.

The room was packed, and many who attended were shocked to find out how much is at stake if gas drilling becomes a reality in Southern Tier neighborhoods.

Some experts say drilling poses threats to property values and mortgage lenders.

Elisabeth Radow, managing attorney of Radow Law PLLC, talked about the impact on communities.

"I can see that there are a number of people in the community who do want it, and there are a number of people in the community who do not want it, and many of them happen to be living next door to one another, which does create a certain level of complexity in terms of drilling operations," said Radow.

Radow also noted that it is important to make sure the company is paying for the operations, and homeowners do not get stuck footing the bill.

Another topic of concern was insurance.

"Some of the very large insurance companies in the United States, such as Nationwide, came out and was very clear in press releases that they would not cover any damages that were a result of gas drilling operations. That leaves the homeowner with some liability and I think people need to be aware of that," informed Greg May, Vice President of Tompkins Trust Company.

The speakers stressed that although there are some perks to gas leasing, residents in our communities and neighborhoods need to be aware of all risks involved in order to make an informed decision on their own.

Although gas drilling risks to water and air quality have not seemed to faze some people, learning of the potential damage to property value certainly hit close to home.