At a recent meeting of Marcellus Outreach Butler, the presenter discussed property values in the area. A member of the audience, who identified himself as working in “investment business,” raised his voice over the speaker and made a sales pitch. He offered anyone there “more than what you would have gotten five years ago” for “vacant land.” When asked if his offer would still stand if the land came without mineral rights his answer was emphatically, “No”. Therein lies the problem.
By signing a lease, you are giving up the long-term value of your property for a onetime payout. Investors are paying more for land right now because they want what is underneath; they are not interested in what happens to the land or the people that live on it.
Those that wish to profit from our land, have little need for us. Our concerns, our families, our health and safety and our outdoor heritage don’t figure into their bottom line. The individual at this meeting was offering to buy up family owned land, sell off the rights for the gas, and discard the surface like an eggshell. And he’s not alone. There are many that wish to sell the land out from under our children’s feet for their profit and then walk away leaving our community “fractured”.
According to new data, 7 million acres or 25% of Pennsylvania has been leased for oil and gas development including 40% of our publicly owned State Forests. What will we be leaving our children when they are done with this shell game?