Shale Property Rights

buyers agent brisbane
How Buyers Agents in Brisbane Ensure a Smooth Process

In the competitive real estate market of Brisbane, buyers agents play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and successful property purchase. Understanding the responsibilities and significance of buyers agents can help buyers make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of the buying process with ease.

Understanding the Role of Buyers Agents

Buyers agents are licensed professionals who represent the interests of property buyers. Their primary goal is to help buyers find and acquire their ideal property while ensuring a seamless experience throughout the entire process.

Buyers agents often start their work by conducting detailed interviews with their clients to understand their specific needs, preferences, and budget constraints. This initial step is crucial as it sets the foundation for the entire property search process. By gaining a deep understanding of what the buyer is looking for, the buyers agent Brisbane can efficiently narrow down the options and present the most suitable properties for consideration.

Key Responsibilities of Buyers Agents

Buyers agents have a wide range of responsibilities that contribute to a successful property purchase. They conduct thorough market research, identify suitable properties, negotiate on behalf of buyers, handle paperwork, and provide valuable guidance and support.

In addition to these core responsibilities, buyers agents also often assist their clients in connecting with other professionals in the real estate industry. This can include recommending reliable mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and real estate attorneys. By leveraging their network of contacts, buyers agents help streamline the buying process and ensure that their clients have access to trusted professionals every step of the way. Click here to get about commercial real estate trends and insights from buyers agents.

The Importance of Buyers Agents in Real Estate Transactions

Buyers agents play a crucial role in real estate transactions by acting as advocates for buyers. They have in-depth knowledge of the local market, market trends, and property values. This expertise enables them to guide buyers in making informed decisions, avoiding common pitfalls, and securing the best possible deal.

Furthermore, buyers agents are skilled negotiators who work tirelessly to achieve favorable outcomes for their clients. Whether it’s negotiating the purchase price, contingencies, or repairs, buyers agents use their expertise to protect the interests of the buyers and ensure that they are getting the most value out of their investment.

The Process of Buying a Property in Brisbane

Buying a property in Brisbane involves several key steps that buyers agents can help streamline and simplify.

When considering purchasing a property in Brisbane, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of the local real estate market. Brisbane, known for its vibrant culture and beautiful weather, offers a diverse range of properties from modern apartments in the CBD to spacious family homes in the suburbs. Buyers agents specializing in the Brisbane market are well-versed in these nuances and can provide valuable insights to help buyers make informed decisions.

Initial Consultation and Property Search

The process typically begins with an initial consultation where buyers discuss their requirements, budget, and timeline with their agents. Based on this information, buyers agents conduct a comprehensive search to identify suitable properties that meet their clients’ criteria.

During the initial consultation, buyers agents may also provide guidance on key factors to consider when buying a property in Brisbane, such as proximity to amenities, school zones, and future development plans in the area. This personalized approach ensures that buyers are equipped with the knowledge needed to find a property that not only meets their current needs but also aligns with their long-term goals.

buyers agent brisbane

Property Evaluation and Negotiation

Once potential properties are identified, buyers agents evaluate their features, condition, and market value to ensure buyers make informed decisions. They then negotiate with sellers or their agents on behalf of buyers to secure the best possible purchase price and terms.

Buyers agents in Brisbane often have access to off-market properties and industry connections that give their clients a competitive edge in negotiations. By leveraging their expertise and market knowledge, buyers agents can help buyers navigate the complexities of property evaluation and secure a favorable deal.

Finalizing the Purchase and Post-Purchase Support

After the negotiation phase, buyers agents help buyers navigate the legal and financial aspects of the purchase, ensuring accuracy and compliance with relevant regulations. They coordinate with solicitors, organize building inspections, and facilitate a smooth settlement process. Even after the purchase is finalized, buyers agents continue to provide support and advice, helping buyers settle into their new property.

Additionally, buyers agents can assist with recommendations for reliable tradespeople, interior designers, or property managers to further enhance the buying experience. Their ongoing support extends beyond the transaction, fostering a long-term relationship built on trust and expertise.

How Buyers Agents Facilitate a Smooth Process

Buyers agents facilitate a smooth property purchase process by leveraging their market knowledge, expertise, and industry connections.

Leveraging Market Knowledge and Expertise

Buyers agents have a deep understanding of the local property market, including current trends, upcoming developments, and investment potential. This knowledge allows them to identify hidden gems and investment opportunities that buyers might overlook. By leveraging their expertise, buyers agents help buyers make well-informed decisions that align with their unique goals and preferences.

Ensuring Legal Compliance and Paperwork Accuracy

Buying a property involves a significant amount of legal documentation and paperwork. Buyers agents assist buyers in navigating this process, ensuring compliance with all legal requirements and minimizing the risk of errors. They review contracts, liaise with solicitors and conveyancers, and provide guidance on legal obligations to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Providing Personalized Service and Support

One of the key advantages of working with buyers agents is the personalized service and support they offer. They prioritize their clients’ needs, preferences, and objectives, taking the time to understand their unique circumstances. By forging strong relationships with buyers, buyers agents can tailor their services to meet specific requirements, providing guidance and support throughout the entire buying journey.

Moreover, buyers agents go above and beyond to ensure that their clients feel supported and well-informed. They stay updated on the latest market trends, attending industry conferences and networking events to expand their knowledge and stay ahead of the curve. This dedication to continuous learning allows buyers agents to provide valuable insights and advice to their clients, helping them navigate the ever-changing real estate landscape with confidence.

In addition, buyers agents have extensive networks of industry professionals, including mortgage brokers, property inspectors, and contractors. These connections enable them to recommend trusted professionals who can assist buyers with various aspects of the purchasing process. Whether it’s finding the right mortgage lender or scheduling a thorough property inspection, buyers agents can connect buyers with reliable experts, saving them time and effort.

buyers agent brisbane

Choosing the Right Buyers Agent in Brisbane

When it comes to selecting a buyers agent in Brisbane, there are several factors that buyers should carefully consider. Making the right choice can make all the difference in ensuring a successful and stress-free property purchase.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Buyers Agent

Buyers should take the time to evaluate the experience, reputation, and track record of potential buyers agents. It is crucial to choose someone who not only possesses a deep understanding of the local market but also has a proven success rate in helping buyers find their dream homes. Excellent negotiation and communication skills are also key qualities to look for in a buyers agent.

Furthermore, buyers should consider the fees and commission structure of the buyers agent they are considering. It is important to ensure that the fees align with their budget and expectations. After all, buying a property is a significant financial investment, and it is essential to have a clear understanding of the costs involved.

Questions to Ask Potential Buyers Agents

To ensure a good fit, buyers can ask potential buyers agents a series of questions. By delving deeper into their approach to property search, negotiation strategies, availability, and communication channels, buyers can gain valuable insights into the agent’s working style and determine if it aligns with their own preferences and needs.

Additionally, it is crucial to assess the potential buyers agent’s understanding of the local market and current trends. A buyers agent who is well-versed in the unique characteristics of different suburbs and neighborhoods can provide invaluable guidance in finding the perfect location that suits the buyer’s lifestyle and preferences.

The Benefits of Hiring a Local Buyers Agent in Brisbane

Opting for a local buyers agent in Brisbane offers several distinct advantages. These agents have an intimate knowledge of the local real estate landscape, including property values, amenities, and lifestyle factors. Their deep understanding of the area enables them to provide valuable insights and guidance to buyers, ensuring they make informed decisions.

Moreover, local buyers agents often have established networks and connections within the real estate community. This gives them access to off-market properties and exclusive opportunities that may not be readily available to others. By leveraging their connections, local buyers agents can help buyers uncover hidden gems and secure properties that perfectly align with their needs and preferences.

In conclusion, the role of buyers agents in Brisbane cannot be overstated. By carefully considering the factors mentioned above and asking the right questions, buyers can find a buyers agent who will provide them with the expertise, guidance, and personalized service they need throughout the entire buying process. With the right buyers agent by their side, buyers can navigate the real estate market with confidence and achieve their property ownership goals.

Commercial Real Estate
Commercial Real Estate Trends: Insights from Buyers Agents

Commercial real estate is constantly evolving, with trends and shifts shaping the market landscape. To gain insights into these dynamics, it is crucial to understand the perspectives of buyers agents, who play a crucial role in navigating the ever-changing commercial real estate market.

In this article, we will explore key trends in commercial real estate, emerging market shifts, and the perspectives of commercial buyers agent in interpreting and responding to these developments.

Understanding the Current Commercial Real Estate Market

The commercial real estate market is a complex and dynamic industry that is influenced by various factors, shaping supply, demand, and pricing. In recent years, several key factors have played a significant role in driving market dynamics and trends.

One of the most critical factors impacting the commercial real estate market is the state of the economy. Economic fluctuations, such as recessions or booms, can have a profound effect on the market. During economic downturns, businesses may downsize or close, leading to a decrease in demand for commercial properties. Conversely, during periods of economic growth, the demand for commercial properties tends to rise as businesses expand and seek new locations to operate.

Government policies and regulations also play a crucial role in shaping the commercial real estate market. Changes in zoning laws, tax incentives, and infrastructure development can create both opportunities and constraints for commercial property investors and tenants. Understanding and adapting to these regulatory changes is essential for investors and businesses looking to thrive in the market. Learn more how buyers agents in Brisbane ensure a smooth process.

Key Factors Influencing the Market

One significant factor is the state of the economy. Economic fluctuations, such as recessions or booms, can have a profound impact on the commercial real estate market. During economic downturns, demand for commercial properties may decrease as businesses downsize or close. Conversely, during periods of economic growth, demand for commercial properties tends to rise.

Government policies and regulations also play a critical role in shaping the commercial real estate market. Changes in zoning laws, tax incentives, and infrastructure development can create new opportunities or constraints for commercial property investors and tenants.

The Role of Buyers Agents in the Market

Buyers agents play a crucial role as intermediaries between buyers and sellers in the commercial real estate market. They provide invaluable insights into the market, helping buyers navigate complex transactions and negotiate favorable terms. With their deep understanding of market trends, property valuations, and investment strategies, buyers agents guide clients towards making informed and strategic decisions that align with their investment goals.

Emerging Trends in Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate market continues to experience transformative shifts, driven by societal, technological, and economic transformations. Two emerging trends warrant attention:

The Shift Towards Remote Work and Its Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work, leading to a reevaluation of office space needs. Many businesses have embraced hybrid work models, reducing their office footprint. As a result, demand for large commercial office spaces has declined, while flexible workspace solutions have gained prominence. Buyers agents are advising investors to explore opportunities in adaptive reuse projects and repurposing office buildings to meet evolving demands.

Moreover, the shift towards remote work has not only impacted office spaces but also influenced the design and amenities of commercial real estate properties. Developers are now focusing on creating mixed-use spaces that cater to the needs of remote workers, such as incorporating co-working areas, outdoor spaces, and advanced technology infrastructure to support virtual collaboration.

Sustainability and Green Building Practices

Increasing environmental consciousness has sparked a growing interest in sustainable and green buildings. Buyers agents are observing a rising demand for eco-friendly commercial properties, driven by both tenant preferences and regulatory requirements. Buyers agents play a vital role in identifying properties with desirable green features, evaluating energy efficiency ratings, and assessing the long-term sustainability of investments.

Furthermore, the emphasis on sustainability in commercial real estate has led to the integration of innovative technologies like smart building systems, renewable energy sources, and water conservation measures. Buyers agents are now working closely with developers and property owners to ensure that green building certifications, such as LEED or Energy Star, are obtained to enhance the marketability and value of these properties.

Commercial Real Estate

The Buyers Agents’ Perspective on Market Trends

Buyers agents possess unique insights into market trends, enabling them to interpret and respond to changing dynamics effectively.

When it comes to understanding market trends, buyers agents go beyond surface-level observations. They delve deep into the data, analyzing historical patterns and current indicators to forecast future movements accurately. By staying abreast of economic indicators, demographic shifts, and regulatory changes, buyers agents can provide their clients with strategic advice tailored to the evolving market landscape.

How Buyers Agents Interpret Market Changes

Buyers agents closely monitor market trends and seek to understand their underlying drivers. They analyze data, conduct market research, and leverage their networks to gain in-depth knowledge of the market. Through this comprehensive understanding, buyers agents can accurately anticipate changes, identify investment opportunities, and mitigate risks for their clients.

Moreover, buyers agents often collaborate with industry experts, including economists, urban planners, and legal advisors, to gain multifaceted perspectives on market dynamics. This interdisciplinary approach equips buyers agents with a holistic view of the market, enabling them to offer nuanced insights and strategic guidance to their clients.

Strategies Buyers Agents Use to Navigate Trends

Buyers agents employ various strategies to navigate market trends successfully. They emphasize proactive communication with clients, keeping them informed about emerging trends and their potential implications. By maintaining a strong network of industry professionals, buyers agents can tap into off-market opportunities and gain early access to potential investments. They also develop creative financing solutions, such as partnering with lenders specializing in commercial real estate, to maximize investment potential.

Furthermore, buyers agents stay agile in their approach, adapting their strategies in real-time to capitalize on emerging opportunities and mitigate risks swiftly. By combining market expertise with strategic agility, buyers agents position themselves as invaluable partners to clients seeking to navigate the complexities of the real estate landscape.

Commercial Real Estate

Predictions for the Future of Commercial Real Estate

Anticipating future shifts is essential for buyers agents and investors alike. Several predictions shape the landscape of commercial real estate:

Anticipated Market Shifts

Experts predict that the commercial real estate market will continue to evolve in response to changing societal, economic, and technological factors. The demand for flexible workspaces is expected to remain strong, with the commercial office market adapting to accommodate hybrid work models. Additionally, the integration of technology, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, is set to revolutionize property management and enhance the tenant experience.

Moreover, sustainability and environmental considerations are becoming increasingly important in commercial real estate. Green building practices, energy efficiency, and eco-friendly designs are not only seen as ethical choices but also as financially prudent decisions. Investors and developers are focusing on creating sustainable properties that reduce carbon footprints and operating costs while attracting environmentally conscious tenants.

How Buyers Agents are Preparing for the Future

Buyers agents are positioning themselves to thrive in the future market by staying informed and embracing technological advancements. They invest in data analytics tools to gain accurate insights into market trends, enabling them to provide their clients with data-driven advice. Moreover, buyers agents actively participate in industry conferences, collaborate with experts in related fields, and engage in continuous professional development to stay at the forefront of the industry.

Furthermore, the role of buyers agents is expanding beyond traditional transactions. They are increasingly involved in strategic consulting, helping clients optimize their real estate portfolios, negotiate complex deals, and navigate regulatory changes. By offering comprehensive services that go beyond simple property transactions, buyers agents are becoming trusted advisors to their clients, guiding them through the intricacies of the evolving commercial real estate landscape.

Conclusion: The Value of Insight from Buyers Agents

As the commercial real estate market continues to evolve, buyers agents serve as invaluable allies for investors and buyers. Their deep understanding of market trends, interpretation of shifts, and innovative strategies enable clients to navigate the dynamic landscape with confidence.

The Role of Buyers Agents in Successful Real Estate Investment

Buyers agents provide expert guidance throughout the investment process, from property selection to closing the deal. By leveraging their market knowledge and negotiating skills, buyers agents ensure their clients make informed decisions and secure the most advantageous terms possible.

Final Thoughts on Navigating Commercial Real Estate Trends

To thrive in the commercial real estate market, staying informed and taking advantage of expert insights is essential. Buyers agents offer a unique perspective, helping investors navigate trends, seize opportunities, and achieve success in this dynamic industry.

OP-ED — Spectra Energy: Trust Facts Not Promises

Spectra Energy’s (NYSE: SE) proposed pipeline projects are proliferating across some 14 states.  Despite its corporate charm offensive, it cannot shake the specter (if you will) of its Steckman Ridge facility in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, a 12 billion cubic feet underground natural gas storage reservoir with pipelines running in and out.Grassroots opposition to Spectra Energy pipelines know all about the operational problems at this facility and the dismissive attitude of the company toward its neighbors, who it refers to (ironically) as “stakeholders.”  Following is an op-ed I wrote on Spectra Energy and another of its pipeline projects in New York and Connecticut called the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline.  Two of the grassroots groups fighting it are: Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) and Concerned Peekskill Residents (CPR).   SAPE Link: Another Spectra Energy pipeline project is Sabal Trail — a proposed pipeline that will cut a 475-mile swath through three states:  Georgia, Alabama and Florida.  SpectraBusters is a very energetic grassroots movement aimed at getting the facts on the table.  They have also picked up this op-ed piece: Click here to read about Listen to Property Owners Near Spectra Energy Facilities.

Spectra Energy — Trust Facts Not Promises

Op-Ed by Mike Benard

Daily Voice, Sept. 10, 2014


PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The Peekskill Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Please send letters to [email protected].

Speaking from experience with Spectra Energy, property owners and communities can expect the company (NYSE: SE) will not do what it says it will in terms of transparency and accountability; and the company will develop amnesia when questioned about its actual track record relating to safety and federal fines.

Managing by fact is simple. If communities and local governments want to know what to expect from Spectra Energy, ask folks who live with its facilities today.

For example, property owners in Bedford County, Pa. (about two hours from Washington, D.C.), have been dealing with Spectra Energy for five years. Spectra Energy’s facility there (called Steckman Ridge) is a 12 billion-cubic-foot underground natural gas storage reservoir, with a nearly 5,000-horsepower compressor station, 13 injection/withdrawal wells and lengthy pipelines in and out of the facility.

This facility stores and pumps shale gas through transmission pipelines across several states. Compressor stations are a fact of life along gas transmission pipelines.

A ring of health, water and operational complaints surround this Spectra Energy facility that began operations in 2009.

To cite one example, on March 9-10, 2013, residents living near that facility called 9-1-1 in response to firecracker-like noises and what appeared to be smoke coming from the company’s compressor station. Fire trucks rolled to the scene.

Spectra Energy’s first response from Marylee Hanley, its dismissive director of stakeholder outreach was, “Nothing was released. There was no smoke. No incident.”

By the next day, the company admitted there was a release of methane and other hydrocarbons; but Andrea Grover, another director of stakeholder outreach, claimed only a “small volume” was released. To this day, the company refuses to say publicly how much was released.

However, through their own efforts property owners learned Spectra Energy’s uncontrolled leak amounted to 431.5-thousand cubic feet of natural gas vented to the atmosphere over a two-day period. Hardly a “small volume,” as Spectra Energy’s Andrea Grover maintained to the Associate Editor of the Bedford Gazette.

Where Spectra Energy is concerned, never trust promises – always examine its track record.

Sabal Trail Pipeline – Spectra Energy’s Proposed Gas Transmission

Pipeline Draws Citizen Opposition in 3 States:

Georgia, Florida, Alabama

Spectra Energy Builds on its Reputation for

Cynical Social Responsibility

Citizens protest Sabal Trail pipeline in Valdosta, Georgia, at County Commissioners meeting. Photo courtesy Matthew Woody, The Valdosta Daily Times.

Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE), the $5 billion pipeline and underground natural gas storage company, is now in a position where its reputation precedes it.  When it holds community meetings to sell a proposed natural gas transmission pipeline, communities show up with pitchforks, figuratively speaking.

Despite airy promises about “stakeholder engagement” and commitment to “transparency and accountability,” word about Spectra Energy’s lack of responsiveness and ongoing problems at existing facilities is spreading to communities across states where it hopes to build more pipelines and compressor facilities.1, 2

For example, the Sabal Trail pipeline is a proposed 474-mile natural gas transmission pipeline Spectra Energy hopes to build through Alabama, Georgia and Florida.  Current plans call for 7 large compressor stations along the pipeline route (to ‘push’ the gas through).

Lessons from New York

Spectra Energy’s track record leaves a negative brand image across many states and in Canada.3

In New York, for example, based on experience with a Spectra Energy pipeline, Clare Donohue, a founding member of the Sane Energy Project, told this writer (emphasis added): Click here to read about Property Rights Emerge as Growing Issue;

“It’s apparent that Spectra is enlarging and adding to their east coast network from south to north, all aimed at improving their distribution to planned export terminals in Sable Island, Nova Scotia.

“These connected projects are being illegally segmented for separate review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  Community resistance is intense all along the path, from Florida to Georgia to New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

“FERC should review the Spectra system as a whole….

“FERC and the Department of Energy also need to LISTEN to citizens, who are sending a message loud and clear that these projects are NOT a ‘public convenience.’  In fact they are viewed as being shoved down the throat of community after community, and are of benefit only to the corporation itself.”  Website:

Action in Georgia & Florida

Property owners in Georgia and Florida quickly combined their forces to challenge Spectra Energy and FERC.  Their objections range from safety to property rights to challenging the necessity for the pipeline.

Sandra Jones, a property owner in Moultrie, Georgia, ran the numbers and concluded in comments to FERC (emphasis added):4

“There is no need for this new pipeline.  Sabal Trail is misrepresenting the truth. In a state where there are only 9,031,051 households, why is enough natural gas needed to produce power for over 22,000,000 households needed? These figures only represent the three major [pipe]lines and do not consider the KinderMorgan line or other smaller ones also coming into the state.

“It becomes very obvious this natural gas is intended for exportation and will not benefit any of the citizens in Alabama, Georgia, or Florida if one looks at the business models of Spectra and NextEra Energies.”

Lessons from New Jersey

In New Jersey, Dale Hardman, Founder & President of NO Gas Pipeline, told this writer (emphasis added):

Spectra is totally untrustworthy!

“We found out from the beginning we must declare as a formal intervenor to sue FERC which regulates ALL interstate pipelines. They trump ALL City and State ordinances. You cannot get an injunction to stop a pipeline. ONLY by suing in federal court can a court overrule FERC.

“FERC was established by the National Gas Act and appointed by the President.  We are awaiting D.C. District Court judge to hear oral arguments for our brief.”  Website:

PHMSA Official Avoids Pipelines

An official of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) admits he would avoid buying or building a home near a pipeline.

The PHMSA official, Bill Lowery, attended the annual conference of the Pipeline Safety Trust in New Orleans.5  Based in Houston,Lowery is Manager of Community Assistance & Technical Services for PHMSA’s Southwest Region.

A video of Lowery’s admission – or advice – appears on DeSmogBlog during an interview conducted by Julie Dermansky.6  (See footnote #6 under Links & Resources below.)

Dermansky reports:

“A federal pipeline safety official admitted on camera recently that he made a point of ensuring his home wasn’t in the path of any pipelines before buying it, and that he wouldn’t advise anyone to build in the path of a pipeline.

When asked what he would do if his home were in the path of a transmission pipeline, Lowery replied (emphasis added):

“Here is what I did when I bought my house — I looked on all the maps, I looked for all the well holes. I found there is nothing around me but dry holes and no pipelines.  And it’s not because I’m afraid of pipelines, it’s not because I think something will happen.  It’s because something could happen. … You’re always better off, if you have a choice….”

He trailed off before finishing his sentence, but added that, “If I was building a house, I wouldn’t build it on a refinery, … I wouldn’t build it on a pipeline, because they’re all industrial facilities. That’s just the reality.”  [See blog & video link in footnote #6 under Links & Resources below.]


Two assessments of Mr. Lowery’s comment:  First, it is a continuing illustration that the new NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) are found among energy industry executives and regulators.

Second, Mr. Lowery is correct – “you’re always better off, if you have a choice.”  Unfortunately, property owners staring down the barrel of an eminent domain lawsuit or compulsory integration laws in most states, do not have a choice.  They do not stand on a level playing field legally or politically.

Eminent domain and compulsory integration laws put landowners in a face-off with the equivalent of a cartel comprised of energy companies and government, because the law allows corporations – backed by government – to control pricing and competition (i.e., “just compensation” and what constitutes “public interest”).

buyers agent brisbane
Property Rights Emerge as Growing Issue;

Is Tillerson a Property Rights ‘Illiterate’?

A recent Wyoming Supreme Court decision noted the shale gas ‘gold rush’ has triggered the law of unintended consequences for energy industry executives and government regulators where property rights are concerned.1

More property owners and communities have decided they do not want to be dictated to by energy executives who do not have drilling rigs, pipelines, compressors or underground natural gas storage reservoirs in their own backyard.

As such energy industry operations proliferate across the US and Canada, more property owners, communities and organizations are challenging the adverse effects on, first, the environment and now, property rights.

The most recent example of the energy industry’s new-age NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) is Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson who filed suit, along with ten others, to stop construction on a water tower near his property in Bartonville, Texas, about 30 miles outside of Dallas.2

Water Sold for ‘Fracing’?

Tillerson and his rich neighbors (with million dollar property values) sued the Bartonville Water Supply Corporation (BWSC) for, among other fears, that “BWSC will sell water to oil and gas explorers for fracing shale formations leading to traffic with heavy trucks on FM 407, creating a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.”  [p. 17 of Armey et al. v. Bartonville Water Supply Corp. et al. Number 2012-30982-211, Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Petition, in the District Court of Denton County, Texas, March 15, 2013]

Tillerson and his attorney say the suit is about a water tower not fracking.  While they pedal backward as fast as they can, this lawsuit is a declaration of property rights by the Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil which describes itself as “the largest publicly traded … oil and gas company” in the world. Click here to read about Pinochio Award for Spectra Energy’s ‘Ground Game’ on Sabal Trail Pipeline,

In this court document, they repeatedly assert the right to enjoy their property.  In a staggering statement of hypocritical self-absorption, the lawsuit declares (emphasis added):

“Each of the homeowners built or purchased their homes in Bartonville to live in an upscale community free of industrial properties, tall buildings, and other structures that might devalue their properties and adversely impact the rural lifestyle they sought to enjoy.” [p. 5 of Armey et al. v. Bartonville Water Supply Corp. et al. Number 2012-30982-211, Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Petition, in the District Court of Denton County, Texas, March 15, 2013]

Tell that to “fellow” property owners who live with fracked wells 300 feet from their door or whose property sits on top of underground natural gas storage reservoirs.  Do they not have the same rights as the Tillersons?

Right to Enjoy THEIR Property

The rich folks’ lawsuit is the best legal read currently available, a testament to the double standard of the new NIMBYs of the energy industry.  It is rife with melodramatic whining over their property rights (emphasis added):

  • The lawsuit bleats about “the emotional harm they have sustained from the deprivation of the enjoyment of their property because of fear, apprehension, offense, loss of peace of mind, visual blight or other similar acts or circumstances.”[pp. 11-12 of Armey et al. v. Bartonville Water Supply Corp. et al. Number 2012-30982-211, Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Petition, in the District Court of Denton County, Texas, March 15, 2013]
  •  “The construction of the water tower will create a constant and unbearable nuisance to those that [sic] live next to it.  A water tower will have lights on at all hours of the night, traffic to and from the tower at unknown and unreasonable hours, noise from mechanical and electrical equipment needed to maintain and, operate the water tower, and creates and [sic] unsafe and attractive nuisance to the children of the area.”[p. 17 of Armey et al. v. Bartonville Water Supply Corp. et al. Number 2012-30982-211, Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Petition, in the District Court of Denton County, Texas, March 15, 2013]

So here we have the leader of the largest oil and gas company in the world, whose very name is Latin for “king,” a person of “ordinary sensibilities” (according to the lawsuit).  He and his ten neighbors stand before the world suffering multiple symptoms:

  • emotional harm
  •  irreparable harm to property value
  • “fear, apprehension, offense, loss of peace of mind, visual blight” and more.

Rex: Property Rights ‘Illiterate’

CEO Rex “Not-In-My-Backyard” Tillerson is on record calling the public “illiterate” in science, math and engineering; and what the energy industry does “is a mystery to them and they find it scary.”3

Au contraire, NIMBY Rex.  No mystery here.  The folks whose property rights your company and industry trample with the collusion of government (as in “cartel”) understand it much better than you do.

Is it possible, Rex, you and your wealthy, powerful friends are illiterate on the issue of property rights?  Now that you find the enjoyment of your property  threatened, it’s “scary?”

When your moment of property rights literacy arrived, you failed.

Fellow property owners who have been there, done that – thanks to you – call it poetic justice.

Links & Resources

1Wyoming Supreme Court Decision – Among other points, the court noted (emphasis added):

“Impetus for the extensive changes came from increased use of eminent domain proceedings by public utilities and energy related industries, a void in the Wyoming eminent domain law perceived by landowners as allowing abuse of eminent domain by nongovernmental entities, and accelerating market values of land, making one-time payments for compensation less satisfactory.”

See Wyoming Supreme Court decision – Barlow Ranch, Limited Partnership v. Greencore Pipeline Company, LLC; (2013 WY 34; Case Number: S-12-0038; S-12-0039; Decided March 19, 2013); paragraph cited above on p. 11 of the 43-page decision.  The Court’s decision is easy to locate on the internet and is available as a downloadable pdf file.

This story is covered extensively by U.S. and international news media; a download of the lawsuit and response is available via The Wall Street Journal (a subscription site).  For that, see EXXON CEO Joins Suit Citing Fracking Concerns:  The Wall Street Journal by Daniel Gilbert, February 20, 2014.

Or type the following reference to the lawsuit into a search engine and you should be able to download the pdf file:  Armey et al. V. Bartonville Water Supply Corp. et al. Number 2012-30982-211, Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Petition in the District Court of Denton County, Texas.

Tillerson stated in paragraph 16 of his remarks (emphasis added):  “Now, with these new technologies that evolve always come a lot of questions. Ours is an industry that is built on technology, it’s built on science, it’s built on engineering, and because we have a society that by and large is illiterate in these areas, science, math and engineering, what we do is a mystery to them and they find it scary. And because of that, it creates easy opportunities for opponents of development, activist organizations, to manufacture fear.”

Pinochio Award for Spectra Energy’s ‘Ground Game’ on Sabal Trail Pipeline,

While Company Pushes 8 Pipeline Projects in 14 States; 

Meanwhile PHMSA Documents Corrosion Problems

Spectra Energy (NYSE:  SE) has eight new pipeline projects in the U.S. that, if approved, will result in more than 830 miles of pipeline in 14 states.  In addition, it is constructing a new underground natural gas storage reservoir in Louisiana with a capacity of 15 billion cubic feet.

In Canada, Spectra Energy is busy with three major projects, all in British Columbia.  These involve two processing plants for raw nat gas and a huge “transportation system” – the word pipeline is never used – that is 525 miles in length.  Check for your state in the highlight list below under Links & Resources.1

With all this experience, property owners and communities might expect Spectra Energy execs to be on top of their game when it comes to a knowledgeable response to questions about its pipelines and corporate performance record.

Or maybe not. Click Here to read about OP-ED — Spectra Energy: Trust Facts Not Promises.

Largest Pipeline Project

In the U.S. the company’s largest pipeline project is the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline aimed at cutting a 475 mile swath through three states:  Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Surely this is a platform for Spectra Energy to demonstrate best-in-class response to questions – to not only reassure communities but to impress federal agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)?

Or maybe not.

Property owners make clear their opposition to Sable Trail pipeline. (Photo courtesy of Carol Singletary.) 

1st Pinochio Award

For example, Andrea Grover, Spectra Energy Director of Stakeholder Outreach (ironic title), asserts at a public pipeline meeting in Georgia that property owners at Spectra Energy’s huge Steckman Ridge compressor/storage facility in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, are “happy” despite ongoing problems there for 5 years, and a consistent lack of response from Spectra Energy to questions.

Thanks to word-of-web, Georgia property owners know Grover’s assertion is a lie.  What else does one call it – an error, slip of the tongue, disingenuous?

FACT:  More than a dozen families who live next to or near the problematic Steckman Ridge compressor/storage facility have complained to Spectra Energy management about a ring of health, water and operational issues surrounding this facility since operations began in 2009.

They have also complained in writing to the federal Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Based on record keeping by neighbors, there have been some 60 shutdowns, blowdowns and related incidents at the Steckman Ridge compressor station and underground natural gas storage facility between August 2009 and the present.

2nd Pinochio Award

The same Spectra Energy executive, Andrea Grover, asserts to Georgia property owners that uncontrolled releases of methane and other hydrocarbons at the Steckman Ridge compressor facility are “normal.” Let’s hope not.

FACT:  Grover should recall the March 9-10 incident last year at Spectra Energy’s Steckman Ridge facility because she was directly involved.  This was yet another uncontrolled release that resulted in 431.5 thousand cubic feet of methane and other hydrocarbons vented to the atmosphere over a two-day period.

Before property owners discovered on their own the size of the leak, Grover asserted to the Associate Editor of the Bedford Gazette that only a “small volume” escaped.  Grover and her Spectra Energy management team all the way up to Canadian CEO Greg Ebel still refuse to publicly acknowledge the size of its fugitive methane release.2

Andrea Grover, Spectra Energy’s Director of Stakeholder Outreach.

3rd Pinochio Award

At the same public meeting in Georgia, Grover asserted to property owners and the news media that she is unfamiliar with the federal Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) 6-figure fine levied against Spectra Energy CEO Greg Ebel.

FACT:  How is it that a veteran of the industry and Spectra Energy whose job is about pipelines remains unaware of such facts?  Does Grover really not know that in December 2012, PHMSA issued her CEO Greg Ebel a “Final Order” and civil penalty of $134,500 related to various violations across several states.

7-year Track Record – Pipeline Corrosion Incidents

Thirteen of the 21 incident causes are attributed to “internal corrosion” –  that’s 65%.  Five of the 21 incident causes are listed as “Material/Weld/Equipment” failure.  None of the incidents are attributed to excavation.

 Spectra Energy’s Pipeline Corrosion Problem

Failure rates offer a real-world metric – much more valuable than promises about “safety.”  Thus, Spectra Energy’s track record, documented by the federal government (PHMSA), reveals internal pipeline corrosion is the chief cause of “significant” pipeline incidents for Spectra Energy over the last 7 years.

Remember three lessons:  Track record, track record, track record.

Spectra Energy’s challenge is simple:  Practice full disclosure about its performance record – full disclosure about the company’s fugitive methane emissions, valve failures, corrosion incidents, and catastrophic failures where they have occurred.

Links & Resources

  • Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project – 21.4 miles of pipeline through New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island & Massachusetts; agreements signed; regulatory review to come; completion date – November 2016
  • Kingsport Expansion – 15.5 miles of pipeline expansion in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Washington & Smyth Counties, Virginia; project is in regulatory review with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
  • NEXUS Gas Transmission – 250 miles of pipeline through Ohio, Michigan, Ontario, Canada; currently in evaluation stage
  • Ohio Pipeline Energy Network (OPEN) – 36 miles of new transmission pipeline through Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson, Belmont & Monroe counties, Ohio; project completion date – 4th quarter 2015; currently in regulatory review with FERC
  • Sabal Trail Transmission Expansion – 474 miles of new transmission pipeline through Alabama, Georgia and Florida; project completion date – May 2017; currently in regulatory review with FERC
  • Salem Lateral Project – 1.2 miles of new 16-inch diameter lateral pipeline in Salem, Massachusetts; completion date – November 2015; currently in evaluation state
  • Texas Eastern’s Appalachia to Market Expansion (TEAM) – 33.6 miles of new 36-inch diameter pipeline and above-ground facilities (compressor units) in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi aimed at “bi-directional flow” on the Texas Eastern pipeline system.  Project completion – November 2014; currently in regulatory review with FERC
  • Uniontown to Gas City Expansion Project (U2GC) – multiple compressor station and meter station modifications to permit “bi-directional” flow of gas in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Project completion in November 2015.

Spectra Energy’s New Storage projects in the U.S.

Commercial Real Estate
Listen to Property Owners Near Spectra Energy Facilities

Note:  The best way to evaluate Spectra Energy is to evaluate its track record, not its promises.  Any evaluation of its track record should include listening to stakeholders who live near Spectra Energy facilities.  

Testimony of Angel and Wayne Smith
Property Owners in Clearville, Bedford County, PA

Regarding Spectra Energy’s Steckman Ridge

Underground Gas Storage and Compressor Facility

EPA Science Advisory Board
Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel
February 1, 2016 Public Teleconference


My name is Angel Smith and my husband, Wayne, and I are providing this testimony based on our personal experience with Spectra Energy’s Steckman Ridge underground gas storage and compressor station, located near our property in Clearville, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. We are about two hours from Washington, DC.

For the record, we are neighbors to a 12-billion cubic feet underground natural gas storage reservoir with a 5,000 horsepower compressor station, 13 injection/withdrawal wells and related pipelines. This facility stores and pumps shale gas through the Spectra Energy pipeline system.

We are not Ph.Ds or MD’s; but we are experts on what has happened to us and our animals when drilling and gas storage happened near our property.

  • We watched our artesian water well run over the well casing for months after the compressor went into operation;
  • We watched our animals die – chickens, a horse, several healthy cows, calves (that seemed to be okay for a few days, then dead), and still born calves.

We called the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) several times; and they would show up after the fact.

DEP reps would pull WATER samples and dump them out in front of us. They would take samples and give us a report with iron levels at 10.3 mg/l and manganese 3.228 mg/l. The secondary standards being iron at 0.3 mg/l and manganese at 0.05 mg/l – which means our levels were well over acceptable limits. And a nice letter from DEP that would state, “Drilling has NOT affected your water supply.”

When they were called again, the DEP rep would arrive only to tell us he did not bring enough bottles to pull samples for testing. Once we were told, you’re so close to the Maryland state line, we don’t care.

Then the next letter would arrive claiming our water quality “has improved since drilling” and operations at the compressor station began. DEP was using its now infamous 942 codes, which ignore levels of high iron, high manganese, high arsenic, toluene, and methane in all of our water supplies!

Since 2009 when Spectra Energy put its Steckman Ridge underground storage and compressor station in service, there have been more than 60 shutdowns and related incidents at its facility. And we are still counting.

Spectra Energy’s track record at Steckman Ridge includes deception. For example in March 2013, there was an uncontrolled leak of 431.5 thousand cubic feet of natural gas vented to the atmosphere over a two-day period.  The incident was so disturbing to neighbors that fire trucks rolled to the facility.

Despite the reality that evening, Spectra Energy’s directors of stakeholder outreach first claimed “Nothing was released. There was no smoke. No incident.” By the next day, the company retreated and claimed only a “small volume” of methane was released. To this day, the company refuses to say publicly how much was released. But we have the document in which the company admits this was anything but a small volume. So Spectra says one thing publicly while privately documenting the uncontrolled release of a huge volume of methane.

When Spectra Energy’s Steckman Ridge operation drilled injection/withdrawal well SR 6, not far from our property line, we had a spring pop up inside our barn that we had to fix. There was so much water in our barn, it was running down the driveway onto the paved road.

On November 25th, 2009, we were still drinking our spring water because it did not test positive for arsenic, as our well had. That morning I made coffee, and noticed the water was brown. Up to that point, it never dawned on us that the spring water was now contaminated. We were sick for months!

Again DEP told us our water quality had improved!

After that we installed a $10,000 water treatment system in our house and for our animals. We have watched our pond go up and down in synch with Steckman Ridge’s injection and withdrawal of gas, and our pond turn red.

From 2007 thru 2015, we have watched our pets and livestock die! As noted, our chickens all died; big healthy cattle would fall over and kick their feet and die.  We had one cow tested and it tested positive for liver disease. With four dead dogs, we had one tested and it tested positive for kidney and stage 4 liver disease; its kidneys shut down, and it had an enlarged liver.

The horse DIED the same way as the cattle, kicking its feet, unable to stand – DEAD!  In addition, neighbors have reported losing cattle, dogs, and goats.

At this point, my husband experienced memory loss, lesions on his lungs; and he has an over load of iron. FOR MYSELF, I’VE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH enlarged liver, liver disease, and lesions on the liver.  This medical diagnosis is based on liver biopsies for both of us.

The creek that runs through our property tested positive for MBAS, a surfactant. To this day we still have large amounts of foam going down this creek.

Our neighbors have their homes for sale, but there is no interest from potential buyers because of the water contamination and air pollution driven by releases at the Spectra Energy compressor station.

We did not ask to be lab rats, we just wanted to raise our cattle for supplying meat to American families, enjoy our pets, and enjoy life — not ever did it cross our minds to worry about what we are drinking or breathing.

I ask you: Do not let this continue! We cannot allow anybody to say drilling doesn’t affect our water and air. My husband and I are living proof that it does. Please do the right thing. Nobody should ever have to live through what we do.