Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
PublicSource reporting is not only part of a fractivist advocacy campaign, but misses the real story; even fractivist property values are increasing.
PublicSource, as I explained Saturday, is a fractivist tool utilized by the Heinz family to advance its own special interests. Those interests have no connection to the welfare of ordinary Pennsylvanians. Little did I know in writing the post, how much more there was to the story.
PublicSource posed Rebecca Roter, a well-known fractivist, as an aggrieved resident of Susquehanna County forced out by fracking (emphasis added):
In 2015, Roter moved to Georgia because her well water was contaminated and she was having health problems including ulcerated gums, skin rashes and ear infections. She thinks a spill on a nearby gas pad sullied her well based on water tests she had commissioned. But the DEP was unable to confirm a link, Roter said.
Was that really the reason Roter left? Who knows? One thing we can be sure of, though, is that this fractivist saw a very nice increase in property values as a result of shale gas activity in her neighborhood.
Following the publication of my post Saturday, a reader who regularly monitors Susquehanna County real estate transactions wrote to send me four public documents. They included a 2008 gas lease, a 2010 gas lease ratification, a 2014 mineral rights deed and a 2015 deed for surface rights to real estate; all four documents executed by Rebecca Roter for property depicted below:
All four documents relate to a 65.74 acre property in Brooklyn Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania; a property apparently purchased for $86,500 in the late 1980’s that generated a minimum of $750,000 in revenue related the gas underneath the land and another $300,000 for the surface rights to the land and the structures. She and her former husband received over $11,400 per acre for their mineral rights and were still able to sell the land and 3,500 square feet house for $300,000. I don’t know how much the Roters received as a lease bonus payment in 2008, but you can be sure it was also significant if standard payments at that time (as much as $2,500 per acre) are any indication.
Yet, despite this hard evidence, Roter lists herself as a “PA Shale Gas Refugee” in this piece of Food & Water Watch propaganda issued less than six months ago. Do a couple who walk away with a minimum of $11,400 per acre for land still salable as $300,000 of real estate constitute “refugees” as she puts it?
The website Broadly also reported this about Roter in June of this year:
Unlike some residents, she could afford to leave the area without selling her house, but felt an “additional moral obligation” to remain.
Curiously, Broadly never tells its readers Roter had, in fact, sold her house and her mineral rights and left Susquehanna County. She had not “remained” and had already sold her property more than a year before either the PublicSource or the Broadly article appeared. Her motives, of course, are only known to her. Nonetheless, one thing is crystal clear. Her property went way up in value. That is a simple fact. And, it’s gone up further since with only the home and 10.41 acres of the property selling for $329,000 earlier this year.
What makes it all especially interesting is that Roter had this to say in early 2012:
Interesting isn’t it? Arguably, Roter couldn’t know in 2012 what would really happen in 2014, but that doesn’t take away from the point. She was totally wrong as proven by her own sale. PublicSource, meanwhile, perpetuates a narrative in stark contrast to what we now know from the activity of the very same person it uses as an example. Property values, which are, if nothing else, a reflection of the community and local environment, were not “shot” at all; unless, of course, she meant they shot up. That’s the real story and PublicSource ignored it.