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Opinion

March 11, 2013

Pipeline money may not come so easily

Recently I learned that my town council has been counting chicks long before catching sight of any eggs.

I had a conversation with another pipeline-affected property owner. He said the assessor has calculated just how much tax revenue the town can expect should the proposed Constitution Pipeline be built.

I was repulsed by the thought of our town leaders rubbing their hands together in anticipation of receiving an insignificant “reward” from Constitution Pipeline for allowing the degradation of the property of those citizens who happen to be in the way, but, that’s not my reason for writing today.

First, if I and the many other citizens working in opposition to the pipeline (and the gas drilling it foreshadows) succeed, the Constitution Pipeline will not be built. Assessors would be wise to put down their pencils until they know there will actually be a pipeline to tax.

Should we fail to stop the pipeline, it will be years before construction is complete. Even then, we have no idea what sort of giveaways the pipeline developers might extract from state and local governments that will negatively affect the pipeline assessments ... plenty of time for the pencils.

Lastly, if a pipeline is built, each property owner of which an easement is required will demand a downward reassessment of between 10 and 50 percent, depending upon the impacts of their particular easement. More significantly, when the gas companies commence drilling, we will see property values drop by at least 25 percent all across the affected areas. The loss of assessed value will become critical as families cash out, pack up and leave rather than live with the effects of fracking. The inability of potential buyers to source mortgages will drive property values down even further. Do you see where this is going?

Wayne R. Stinson

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