Are you defenseless against fracking?

More than 600 fracking wells are currently permitted in Ohio
Zillow
Feb 20, 2014

By S.E. Slack

Do you know your fracking rights? The practice could be coming your way soon. More than 600 fracking wells are currently permitted in Ohio, mostly on the northeastern side of the state. In this state, title deeds confirm who owns the rights to the minerals on any given piece of property. If you don’t investigate, you might be helpless to stop it from happening underneath your home.

Fracking is the nickname for hydraulic fracturing, which involves horizontal drilling to access hydrocarbon-bearing shale formations located thousands of feet under the Earth’s surface. According to real estate firm Zillow, this technology inserts water, sand and chemicals into the earth at high pressure to break apart rock and release natural gas.

The discovery of large shale formations in the Northeast and in South Dakota has encouraged fracking exploration in many other areas of the United States. Many communities are enacting bans on fracking, placing them at odds with the states and homeowners that own the minerals that fracking could uncover.

While some claim fracking doesn’t harm the earth thousands of feet above, others argue that it can cause earthquakes, potentially damaging homes and structures that have no connection to the drilling. According to the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey, for example, there has been a significant rise in the frequency of seismic events since 2009. More than 200 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 3.0 (big enough for people to feel) occurred in central Oklahoma during that period.

In 2011, a 5.6 earthquake was recorded near Prague, Oklahoma, just east of Oklahoma City. Some geologists claim the quake – the largest ever recorded in that state – was the result of wastewater injection from oil and natural gas operations.

A U.S. Geological Survey study also determined that other minor earthquakes in Oklahoma are very likely the result of fracking. Many homes across the state suffered damage as a result with no recourse. Standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.

Defenders of fracking say those claims simply aren’t true. Either way, it might be time to become more educated on the topic and how it could impact your property's home values.