Homeowners who sign gas leases to permit hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in Maryland, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states may be defaulting on their mortgages, risking loss of title insurance and homeowners' insurance coverage, and preventing future buyers from obtaining title insurance or mortgage loans on affected property. These are the consequences described by attorney Elizabeth Radow in an article in the New York State Bar Journal available here. The story has also been covered in the New York Times stories here and here. Several members of Congress have asked mortgage regulators including FHA and FHFA, the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to determine how many families may unwittingly have breached their mortgage terms, and presumably what can be done to balance the risks to lenders with the potentially harsh consequences for families. While homeowners may be caught in the middle, the potential dispute may bring large financial institutions and the energy industry face to face in a battle over the genuine risks of fracking, on the one hand, and the validity of somewhat obscure mortgage contract terms, on the other.