New Studies Reinforce Positive Impact of Safe Natural Gas Development

Straightforward, fact-based evidence continues to mount in support of clean-burning American natural gas, which is Powering an American Renaissance. As the Associated Press reports today, the “recent dramatic discoveries of vast U.S. oil and gas reserves are helping to lift the American economy out its long funk.” The article concludes – among other things – that “The energy sector plays a major role in global economic growth and recovery.” This is especially true across much of rural Pennsylvania.

Reinforcing this positive economic impact further, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research released a study today entitled Economic Effects of Hydrofracturing on Local Economies: A Comparison of New York and Pennsylvania, offering a snapshot of the regional impact of safe, tightly-regulated natural gas development.

Here are key excerpts of this new study:

  • Pennsylvania counties with hydrofractured gas wells have performed better across economic indicators than those that have no wells.
  • Between 2007 and 2011, per-capita income rose by 19 percent in Pennsylvania counties with more than 200 wells, by 14 percent in counties with between 20 and 200 wells, and by 12 percent in counties with fewer than 20 wells.
  • Counties with more than 200 wells added jobs at a 7 percent annual rate over the same time period.
  • Using the Pennsylvania data to project hydrofracking’s effect on New York counties, we find that the income of residents in the 28 New York counties above the Marcellus Shale has the potential to expand by 15 percent or more over the next four years—if the state’s moratorium is lifted.
  • Our data also suggest that had New York allowed its counties to fully exploit the Marcellus Shale, those counties would have seen income-growth rates of up to 15 percent for a given four-year period, or as much as 6 percent more than they are experiencing.
  • Even at levels of development far below the maximum, our analysis estimates that billions of dollars could accrue to local economies if hydrofracturing is permitted in New York State.
  • We have shown that Pennsylvania counties with hydraulic fracturing had higher economic growth rates than those without. The results also reveal that a greater number of wells correlated with a higher rate of economic growth.
  • [Results] suggest that over the past decade, had New York State counties on the Marcellus Shale been allowed to use these resources, economic growth would have been substantially higher—at up to 15 percent for a given four-year period, or 6 percent greater than would otherwise be expected. This corresponds to a potential $8 billion in extra income in upstate New York.

And today’s study follows last week’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council report, which focuses on The Benefits of Natural Gas Production and Exports for U.S. Small Businesses [click HERE for Pa.-specific economic impacts]. The study underscores the significant benefits tied to natural gas development for our nation’s small businesses, in particular as it relates to job growth. Further, according to the report, a common sense U.S. natural gas export policy would be a “net positive resulting in greater U.S. natural gas production, increased investment, enhanced GDP growth, rising incomes, and more jobs.”

In a release, Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for SBE Council and author of the report, said:

“The tremendous increase in domestic natural gas production has been a boon for small business and job growth in the energy sector in recent years. Looking ahead, growth opportunities for small businesses and employment in the U.S. energy sector look bright due to increased natural gas demand, including in international markets. The opportunity exists for exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). Expanded demand for U.S. natural gas internationally will be a net positive, resulting in greater U.S. natural gas production, increased investment, enhanced GDP growth, rising incomes, and more jobs.”

Fact-based reports like these – demonstrating that science continues to prevail – play an important role in understanding the overall impact and benefits associated with safe, American shale gas development. Please visit LearnAboutShale.org for more natural gas-related information, and join the online conversation by using #LearnAboutShale. We hope to hear from you soon!