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Developers Selling Fracking Rights Without Homeowners Knowing It

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

 If you buy a home, you probably assume (if you even think about it) that you own the land underneath the house too, but in these days of natural gas fracking, that may not be true.

Let's say you buy a home in a gated community or a condo in a housing development. One day you look outside and see your community being turned into an industrial zone. Drillers are setting up shop to begin fracking.

Thousand of homeowners are experiencing this nightmare, finding out the hard way that the mineral rights underneath their house have been sold to drillers without them knowing about it.

"In golf clubs, gated communities and other housing developments across the United States, tens of thousands of families have moved into new homes where their developers or homebuilders, with little or no prior disclosure, kept all the underlying mineral rights for themselves," says Reuters after its review of county property records in 25 states. "In dozens of cases, the buyers were in the dark."

Home builders and developers are finding an additional way to make money - they sell a home to a family and separately sell the mineral rights beneath the soil to oil and gas drilling companies. And most states don't require the developer to disclose that to home buyers. 

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