Mortgages for Drilling Properties May Face Hurdle
By IAN URBINA
Published: March 18, 2012The Department of Agriculture is considering requiring an extensive environmental review before issuing mortgages to people who have leased their land for oil and gas drilling.
Last year more than 140,000 families, many of them with low incomes and living in rural areas, received roughly $18 billion in loans or loan guarantees from the department under the Rural Housing Service program. Much of the money went to residents in states that have seen the biggest growth in drilling in recent years, including Pennsylvania, Texas and Louisiana.
The article goes on to say:
The environmental reviews being proposed by the Agriculture Department would give the public a fuller accounting of the potential environmental risks of drilling, the experts said. Such reviews would also help protect the agency from litigation from environmental groups — a cost that would ultimately be borne by taxpayers.
But the Agriculture Department’s notice would also mean that landowners who had already signed leases to allow drilling on their land would face hurdles if they applied for federally backed mortgages.