The economic benefits associated with the responsible and environmentally sound development of the Marcellus Shale’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas reserves are overwhelming. Tens of thousands of good-paying jobs are being created across the Commonweal of Pennsylvania, where Marcellus development has been underway for several years. Hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues are being generated to local and state government. And Pennsylvania consumers, who continue to struggle with nearly double-digit unemployment rates, are seeing the benefits of shale gas development in the form of lower energy costs.
However, the story of the Marcellus Shale in New York State is a very different one. You see, in terms of geology, the Marcellus Shale formation is not considerably different in New York than it is in Pennsylvania. The technologies used to safely and effectively reach these job-creating resources are the same, too. But environmental regulators there have kept this production off-limits, denying the creation of thousands of jobs and countless other economic benefits to the region, despite the fact that the nation’s first natural gas well was completed in Fredonia, NY in 1821. At the same time, some elected state leaders are also working to implement an even more far-reaching moratorium on shale gas development.
Recognizing how critical this development is for Upstate New York’s struggling economy, and for our nation’s energy security, Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) president Kathryn Klaber joined a broad group of organizations this week in a letter to the State Assembly urging their support to move forward with responsible shale gas development: Here are key highlights from that letter:
We need your support for this compelling economic development opportunity, one that could benefit the State and localities significantly for years to come. We should embrace our State’s ability to bring New York-produced gas to New York customers, and by so doing create new opportunity and prosperity in our own State.
Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel known to man – is a solution to reducing our nation’s carbon footprint, and it will greatly improve New York’s and America’s energy independence. … And natural gas is abundant; the Marcellus Shale alone could supply natural gas to the entire United States for 20 years or more.
Based on economic projections in Pennsylvania, where the Marcellus is now being explored, Marcellus Shale development in New York will generate more than $1.4 billion in annual economic impact, based on 300 wells drilled – including more than $100 million in lease payments to landowners, $32 million in state tax revenue and tens of thousands of new jobs over time. In Broome County, a recent study that showed that 2,000 wells would annually generate more than $7.4 billion in economic activity, and nearly $400 million in wages, salaries and benefits. Also, more than $600 million in property tax income and $22 million and $20 million in state and local taxes would be generated. All of this – in just one county.
The folks in New York, especially those along the Southern Tier where Marcellus development would occur, are doing their part to educate, engage and inform the public, and key stakeholders, about the overwhelmingly positive benefits associated with shale gas production and how safe the process actually is. Last night, a group of elected officials, academics, landowners, and energy and labor representatives met in Binghamton to discuss these benefits, and to dispel the myths about the production of shale gas. The Ithaca Journal reports this today under the headline “Meeting touts benefits of tapping into Marcellus Shale”:
According to Syracuse University Earth Sciences professor Don Siegel, these concerns are more myth than reality. “This is the first environmental issue that I’ve thrown my hat into the ring on,” he said. “As a hydrogeologist, I really am almost offended by some of the opposition that’s trying to paint a picture of what groundwater resources are like that is completely wrong.”
“New investments will be made in a region where multimillion — and even multibillion — dollar investments have not been seen to this level in years,” said Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala,” and we can do all this while protecting the environment.”
“Our campus was one of the fastest-growing campuses in the United States, and virtually all of our graduates were going out into very good-paying energy industry jobs,” Drumm said. “The energy industry creates great jobs — lots of jobs — and we were heavily involved in our colleges in training for those jobs.”
Labor unions are also speaking out for responsible shale gas development in New York on behalf of their members. This from a WICZ-TV report:
Local union representatives were on hand as well, supporting the notion that jobs and money are on the coat tails of hydro-fracking.
Alex Barillo of Laborers Local 785 says he’s seen the benefits of drilling south of the border in Pennsylvania, and on the Millenium Pipeline where he says workers have seen a gross income of approximately 35 million dollars.
“That’s $35 million in gross wages that went to local workers right here so that they could have health insurance, they can have retirement, and they could pay their mortgages and so that they can do the things they do every day in their communities,” Barillo said.
We encourage you, your employees, colleagues, businesses associates, friends and family to visit Marcelluscoalition.org/get-involved, and join this fight for a more prosperous economy that leverages these resources into permanent, family-supporting jobs and stable supplies of domestic energy. Becoming a “Friend of Marcellus” will help ensure that you are informed and educated about the opportunities and critical issues surrounding this development, especially as it relates to moving forward with Marcellus development in New York.