Overregulation threatens land owners

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 20, 2015

By Dee Davey

Mansfield is a great place to live. Money Magazine is one of the latest to rank Mansfield as one of the best places to live in America. Our strong economy attracts thousands of new residents, many of whom have started new businesses here.

But listening to some local activists, things in Mansfield are not so great. They claim natural gas drilling has reduced property values and ruined our quality of life.

I’ve been in Mansfield for 39 years and for long-time residents like me, we’ve watched Mansfield grow from a small quiet town and to continue on as a great hometown for the new neighbors who have moved here.

As a Realtor here, my job is to understand the health of the local housing market. Are property values going up or down? Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market? Where is the best place to buy a house?

I believe when it comes to Mansfield, our direction is right on target.

According to a real estate Web site, Zillow.com, the median home price in Mansfield has increased by nearly 15 percent to 20 percent since 2009.

That’s why I’ve advised so many people to come here. I always tell prospective homebuyers that a family’s investment in a home is one of the most important decisions they will make, and over the past few years, thousands of people have decided to make that investment right here in Mansfield.

According to the U.S. Census, since 2000, Mansfield’s population has nearly doubled. Over that same period of time, more than 200 natural gas wells have been drilled in the city limits.

If drilling were devaluing property and harming homeowners, as some of these out-of-town activists have claimed, then why are people still moving to Mansfield?

The fact is, natural gas development is safe and important for us. It allows us to produce our energy locally instead of importing it, and keeps our energy costs low. It creates jobs for our residents, and it has generated millions of dollars in revenue for Mansfield schools, providing a better educational system for our children. Good schools are also one of the primary reasons why families move to a particular area.

Scientific research has also confirmed that local natural gas development doesn’t harm public health. A recent peer-reviewed study concluded that “shale gas activities have not resulted in (air emission) levels that pose a health concern.” A recently released study of five gas wells inside the city of Mansfield found no evidence of emissions that would harm public health.

Even so, a handful of activists are lobbying for extreme measures that would hinder future development in Mansfield.