Where’s your, “Drill, Baby, drill” now?
Drilling can dig into land value
Saturday, September 18, 2010
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
One year to the day after a company set up its drilling rigs on their land in eastern Wise County, Tim and Christine Ruggiero confirmed the depth of their loss.
Originally on the 2010 tax rolls for $257,330, their home and 10-acre horse property are now worth $75,240.
Is this the American Dream or what?
Some board members said they would neither be able to sell the property, nor even consider listing the property, after hearing the couple’s disclosures, including the fact that they had filed a lawsuit against the company for damages.
“I wouldn’t sell it for $78,000,” said Patsy Slimp, a board member and former real estate agent. “I could not sell this house in a clear conscience.”
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Mike H. says
The drilling company should do what is right, and pay them the difference.
If that doesn't work, I'm sure some in Gov't. will be willing to force the issue.
This is typical zero-sum game Barnett Shale economics. Someone has to lose for someone else to gain. How proud they should be of themselves, at least the mafia would give you a chance to may protection money, Big Gas doesn't even give you that chance.
Tim Ruggiero says
The reality is, we all lose, even the other gas companies, including Aruba.
Our loss is apparent, and now the taxing authority has declared offically what we said on Sept 16, 2009-when the bulldozers showed up.
Aruba loses because after everything that they have done, they haven't so much as lifted a finger (except maybe their middle one) to correct any of their mistakes. A check for $300K (the exact worth of our property in Sept 2009) may have made all the difference in the world. I can say even now I wouldn't have been too happy about being forced from our home, but at least having the opportunity to move elsewhere to start over was a much better option than what we face today. I also think that after making millions off of the wells just on our property, 'buying us out' would have been a relatively small investment for Aruba and their precious 'corporate image', 'good corporate citizens' and of course their 'Good Neighbor' image they tout so much.
The other operators lose, too, now having Aruba Petroleum single handedly responsible for created more work for their PR depts.
Most importantly, the Counties lose, as much less tax dollars coming in negatively impact public services, already up against budget cuts.
This tax reduction in North Tx. is good news for the folks up there. However, for us in Booger County, it doesn't matter at all. Here the crooked appraisal folks have a system called a "Mass Appraisal" system which means that for residential property, the tax value had nothing to do with market value. They only consider the square footage and then throw a dart at a chart to determine a number and multipy that number by the square footage–and bingo that's your taxes–no questions asked. Doesn't do any good to protest–if you do you will be singled out and up goes your taxes. Welcome to Big Booger. Want to know more details, let me know!
Every win for us is a win for you. I have not forgotten about my dear friends in Booger, Freestone and Navarro. We have to push for statewide reforms and push for regulatory agency reforms.
If the appraisal districts in Tx would TAX the treating/injection equipment at well sites, equipment at amine plants, and equipment at compressor stations at fair market value, we could nearly do away with residential property taxes in the shale areas!
I would rather give up the "treating/injection equipment at well sites, equipment at amine plants, and equipment at compressor stations" and pay higher taxes.
To TXsharon above–I agree; however, since the crap is there, lets TAX the hell out of it.
In other words, Tax the O&G equipment until you are able to get rid of it (if you ever can), then the taxes can be removed.
Tim Ruggiero says
Maybe things are much different down in Boogerland. All I can say is that there were quite a number of people that told me I was 'wasting my time' going to the hearing, I would have to threaten to sue, actually then file a lawsuit and then and only then, expect the chief appraiser to call wanting to make me a deal. Still wouldn't give me what I wanted, but it would be lower. We were prepared to file based on what we were told. I was actually looking forward to a tial by jury – a group of at least 6 who also got screwed by the chief appraiser.
Bottom line is, if you're documenting- I can't stress that enough-you have a greater chance to win your case.
Yeah, I get that. Tax them to fund switching to clean energy NOT natural gas.
Lower taxes is NOT a good thing in this case because it is based on this industry turning our homes and neighborhoods into slums. That is NOT a good trade.
To Anonymous 8:38. Wait a minute–your notion that it's good to have high property taxes on a home who's value and use has been ruined is a farce! You are saying that when big gas ruins your property, you want your property taxes to stay high?? You don't make any sense. Maybe you are associated with big gas or you are a member of one of the local juntas? Explain yourself!
We put our retirement money into our small RURAL RESIDENTIAL property: paid for land, barn, well, septic, & were 3 weeks away from building our home. RRC Commissioner Tommie Seitz said, “J. Bradley Fisher, VP & COO, Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (2009 salary $1,456,637, home address 13706 Vinery Ln, Houston, TX 77429) told him that absentee surface owner J. Alan Barron’s people TOLD Carrizo the ONLY place they could place their 2 gas wells/3 condensation tanks was wedged up against us.” We begged Fisher to back away so we could build. Fisher REFUSED & chopped off our ridge to get even closer. Neither wealthy absentee surface owners J. Alan Barron/wife Wendy (411 Meadow Hill Rd, Ft Worth, TX, Parker County, $1,458,880 tax value, 12,474 sq ft, indoor racquetball court/gym, indoor/outdoor pool, tennis court) (a previous salary $800,000 & $4,436,200 shares value) nor Carrizo will buy our property. They profited at ours, our children’s & grandchildren’s expense. A 24-7 Life-Changing GAS COMPRESSOR STATION is being added. You’d have to be an idiot to build a home on our property or purchase it for a residence. The following people didn’t respond to our offer to mail them a CARRIZO CHEMICAL SPILL DVD: RRC – email@example.com & EPA – firstname.lastname@example.org & Carrizo – email@example.com. Every Parker County gvmt office said, “They did NOT approve this gas well site!” The Railroad Commission only approves “the distance between wells.” Any greedy surface owner can ruin their RURAL neighbor not sparing them an inch & they have in counties surrounding Fort Worth, TX. We’re retired and financially ruined. Are Gas Companies turning RURAL Texas into a WELFARE STATE with ruined property values/no compensation? Are there any laws/agencies in the USA to HELP us RURAL Texans?
I am in a similar position. I also sunk my retirement into land in a rural area then they started drilling all around me.
Please contact me. I would like to have your DVD. txsharon dot blog at gmail dot com
To Anonymous 12:23. There's no help in Texas, none what-so-ever. We have likewise been ruined in Booger county. We have been run from our retirement home! NO help from any agency, politician, locals, or the oil soaked crooked Tx. courts!
Violet Southall says
We live in Weatherford, TX. Devon Energy has started their gas drilling expansion directly behind our back fence. We live in a area with only 9 homes. The homes on our side of the street are only a few feet away from the project.
So far the City/County Officials have pointed to the Texas Railroad Commissioners since they are the ones who issue the permits. Our understanding is that no official in town is responsible for these permits and where the sites are allowed.
My question has been “Why with all the thousands of open space is it necessary to drill right next to an established neighborhood?” All fingers point to the Railroad Commissioners.
How is this possible? Surely Devon had to obtain permission to use the narrow two lane road “Azle Hwy” for their massive trucks hauling all the equipment.
Someone locally in a authority position has to be involved, yet no one seems to know anything. I’ve written to our city manager, our county judge, our local representative Phil King in
Austin and all I get back is the same finger pointing to the Railroad Commissioners. Thus far the only one who has not responded is Representative Phil King, however I will make every attempt to contact him further.
The bottom line is: “the deed is done” for us, BUT I just hope no other neighborhood in the future will have to deal with this type of injustice.
If you live in an unincorporated area, statewide rules apply and those are very week. People who live in municipalities have a little more protection IF they have a drilling ordinance in place.
The drillers drill close to homes because it is more convenient and saves them money. EVERYTHING they do is about maximizing profit. If they drill close to homes they have electricity and roads and water that is more convenient.
Phil King gets a ton of money from the oil and gas industry. He will never provide any significant help unless it is an election year.
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I am so sorry. =( But, you are not alone. There are move of us than there are them and our numbers are growing every day.