Residents need to get all the facts on coal bed methane now, not later

Posted: Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Coal bed methane. If you don't know what this issue is about and how it affects you, you'd better start learning, because we're all affected. I have to admit that it didn't hit home for me until recently when I found out that the state leased the subsurface of my property to a gas company. In fact, the whole subdivision has been leased. You should see the map. Over 20,000 acres, much of it residential, has been leased. The city reservoir and a school are in there!

Our private property rights were tossed out the window by the state so that subsurface mineral rights could take priority. That means that drilling could happen near your house, and you don't have any say in it.

Even if your land hasn't been leased, the lot next to yours could be. If you have a water well, it could be polluted by the drilling. What's scary is that we don't have the luxury of any local ordinances or zoning to protect us. The only thing we can do is to apply for water rights for our properties before coal bed methane development starts.

The guy who wants to develop coal bed methane in this area assures us that it's too early in the game to worry about specifics. Maybe that's why the state only gave notice of the lease sale in the Anchorage Daily News and not in either of our local papers so that we wouldn't have to worry about making any comments. Did any of you happen to catch that notice? Me neither.

This whole thing stinks worse than methane. What do you think happens to your property values once there's a gas well on or near it? I'd bet my house that it doesn't go up. The Kenai Peninsula Borough is sponsoring an informational meeting on Nov. 10 at the Homer High School at 6 p.m. I strongly urge you all to attend.

Emily Ward, Homer

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