CLAIM: The Wimberly Valley Watershed Association claimed that Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline would negatively impact property values in the region. “Property values will be severely diminished and the opportunities for growth and development in the region will be diminished,” the group said in a petition opposing the pipeline.
The claim is both unsubstantiated and refuted by numerous studies examining the relationship between pipelines and property values.
Questions regarding potential impacts to property values are often raised during the development of oil and natural gas pipeline projects. While these concerns are understandable, they are largely unsupported by factual evidence. Recent and historical studies have almost universally concluded that pipeline infrastructure has no impact on property values.
Most recently, a 2016 study commissioned by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) found that “there is no measurable impact on the sales price of properties located along or in proximity to a natural gas pipeline.” The report, “Pipeline Impact to Property Value and Property Insurability” is the result of a year-long analysis conducted by Integra Realty Resources, a leading provider in real estate valuation. The study also found that the proximity of pipelines do not effect a property’s insurability, desirability, or a homeowner’s ability to obtain a mortgage.
Prior analysis prepared for INGAA reached similar conclusions, including a 2001 report that “determined that there is no significant impact on the sales price of properties located along natural gas pipelines.” Furthermore, it was calculated “that neither the size of a pipeline (diameter) nor the product carried by a pipeline has any significant impact on sales price.”
A similar conclusion was reached in a study published by the International Right of Way Association in 2011 in which researchers were unable to “identify a systematic relationship between proximity to the pipeline and sale price or value.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has acknowledged and accepted these findings. In an Environmental Impact Statement for the New Jersey – New York Expansion Project the Commission noted that their “analysis did not identify any relevant studies to refute the conclusions presented.” FERC further stated that “homeowners’ insurance rates are unlikely to change do to the construction and operation of the proposed Project.” (See FERC Docket CP11-56-000, FEIS, pages 4-181, 4-183)
FERC has reiterated these determinations in numerous other environmental assessments, including for the Atlantic Coast and Nexus pipeline projects. “Based on the research we have reviewed, we find no conclusive evidence indicating that natural gas pipeline easements would have a negative impact on property values,” FERC wrote in a 2016 Final EIS for the Nexus Pipeline.
Bottomline, the notion that pipeline infrastructure adversely affects property values has been repeatedly discredited as a myth. Given the available facts, the claim that Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline would negatively impact property values is not valid. The assertion is more likely a scare tactic employed to drum up opposition to the project.