Development companies keep rights to oil, gas underneath houses they sell

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By Katie Valentine | Climate Progress

U.S. homebuilders and developers are increasingly keeping the rights to oil and natural gas resources beneath their houses, and they’re keeping it very quiet. That means that when buyers purchase their homes, they have no idea that the natural resources underneath don’t belong to them — or in some cases, even that they’re there at all — and can be sold off to energy companies at any time.

That’s what a new report from Reuters has found. Companies like D.R. Horton, the largest homebuilder in the U.S., are holding on to the mineral rights of homes with “little or no prior disclosure” to the homeowner. According to Reuters, D.R. Horton has “separated the mineral rights from tens of thousands of homes in states where shale plays are either well underway or possible, including North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Washington and California. In Florida alone, the builder has kept the mineral rights underneath more than 10,000 lots, a review of county property records shows.”


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