What They’re Saying: Marcellus Shale “An Opportunity to Revolutionize Energy Policy”

  • Pa. Small Business Owner: “It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”

  • Marcellus-Producing Regions Have Unemployment Rates “That Are the Envy of the Rest of the State and Nation”

  • “There’s Excitement in Western Pennsylvania Again”; “A Generational Play”

“Locals Cash in on Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas Boom”: The early payoff from the energy boom is readily apparent in these parts. Newly paved roads are common in Washington and surrounding areas. … “It’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Frank Puskarich, owner of Hog Father’s restaurant in Washington and daily caterer to Range Resources‘ “frack jobs” across the region. … “[Business] has been tremendous. There’s a lot of work for people who want it, and not just in the food business.”Bradford County and nearby Tioga County now boast two of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, a stark change from just a few years ago. “These towns a few years ago were on their last legs,” said Gene Barr, vice president of government and public affairs at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. … “The industry, by its very nature, has to have good relations with the landowners. They’re our business partners,” said Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Schools also are jumping on the bandwagon, offering training programs for their students to lead them into jobs where they often earn $75,000 a year or more. (Washington Times, 5/23/11)

“Drilling Industry Changes Northern Tier Jobs Outlook”: There was a time when the state’s Northern Tier, the most rural part of our region, was viewed as an economic dead-end by many observers. The Marcellus Shale gas drilling industry has changed all that to the point where that area is posting unemployment drops that are the envy of the rest of the state and nation. … The Tioga County unemployment numbers [of 6.1%] for February are just the latest factual data that underlines how silly the claims that the industry isn’t creating jobs are. And the spinoff economic impacts may be just as great. … Private sector road construction in several drilling counties exceeds the Pa. Dept. of Transportation’s budget for those areas, another economic boost to local communities. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette Editorial, 5/20/11)

From The Battlefield To The Natural Gas Field: At times, military personnel return from active duty and find it tough to get back into the workplace. Others may be working but are underemployed. Westmoreland County Community College is helping some of them find a career with a non-credit roustabout course. Twelve active National Guardsmen completed the three-week program Friday in which they received training in the burgeoning Marcellus shale drilling industry. … “We provide training in entry-level natural gas Marcellus shale-related industries,” said Byron Kohut, director of Marcellus ShaleNET’s western hub for WCCC. “We anticipate every one (of the participants) getting a job.” … “They’re used to working long hours,” he said. “They understand leadership, (They) follow leadership. They’re hard-working, and there are a lot of military occupations that translate well to the industry.” (Tribune-Review, 5/21/11)

“Marcellus Shale Motherlode Brings World of Change”: The industry has and continues to transform small western Pennsylvania outposts such as Washington, Hickory and Canonsburg from sleepy communities to boomtowns and has changed the national conversation about how we heat our homes and power our vehicles. “All the sudden you’ve found yourself with an abundant source of energy … and, by the way, it’s made in America,” Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor and homeland security secretary, said in an interview. Mr. Ridge now serves as an adviser to the Marcellus Shale Coalition. (Washington Times, 5/22/11)

PSU: Small Businesses “Are Indeed Seeing a Boost From Marcellus Shale”: Small businesses in Pennsylvania’s northern tier and southwest are indeed seeing a boost from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, according to Penn State researchers. … One-third of Bradford County businesses and 23 percent of Washington County companies reported increased business due to drilling activity. … In Bradford County, in northeast Pennsylvania, 100 percent of hotels and campgrounds, 50 percent of financial businesses, 35 percent of construction firms and about 30 percent of transportation firms and restaurants reported higher sales. (Central Penn Business Journal, 5/26/11)

“New Natural Gas Drilling Company Coming To Clearfield Co.”: One drilling company will set up shop soon in Clearfield County, creating some new jobs. Carrizo Marcellus has drilling operations all over the nation, but they’re expecting to ramp up drilling in the Marcellus Shale later this year. … They’re planning to create somewhere around 15 jobs and be part of the new market square area. That area is a big part of the Clearfield riverfront revitalization project. (WJAC-TV, 5/19/11)

“There’s Excitement in Western Pennsylvania Again”: Increasingly, the talent is homegrown. … At the Western Area Career and Technology Center in Canonsburg, director Joseph Iannetti has instituted programs geared toward the natural gas industry. … “There’s excitement [in western Pennsylvania] again. This is not a flash-in-the-pan industry.” He said his school has a 92 percent placement rate. Many graduates head to well sites, working for Range or one of its many competitors. But, Mr. Iannetti said, companies need more than well drillers. There is high demand for electricians, welders, truck drivers, excavators and even accountants. It isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard work, exactly the kind western Pennsylvanians are used to after the mighty rise and sudden fall of iron and steel operations, Mr. Iannetti said. For the nation, it’s an opportunity to revolutionize energy policy. For workers, it means a good paycheck in an exciting field, accompanied by backbreaking work and weeks at a time away from home. (Washington Times, 5/22/11)

“Boomtown: Drilling Transforming Williamsport”: Allison’s business is growing by providing setups for cranes, drill rigs, relocation of rigs and hauling water to well sites. He said about 100 jobs have been created and he anticipates between 30 and 50 more. … “We see this as a generational play,” Fink said. … A question of just who is benefitting from the jobs came up and Fink said of the 300 employees at Halliburton in Montgomery, some 85 percent are state residents who are paid family-sustaining wages. … The latest unemployment figures in Lycoming County reveal joblessness at 7.4 percent, down from the previously publicized 10 percent and higher. … As an engineer, he said, he believes in an ethical standard and always puts health, safety and welfare of citizens first. “All of the players want this to be sustainable,” he said. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette, 5/20/11)

“Gas Company Brings Office, Jobs to Williamsport”: Range Resources is opening up a brand new location on the corner of Third and Pine Streets in downtown Williamsport. The company says not only will the move bring more jobs to the area, but it will boost businesses already anchored here in the downtown. … Mark Windle of Range Resources says, “There will be more jobs here at this office and in the field. For every job here in the office, there are a couple more we’ll need in the field.” About 60 immediate jobs will come to Williamsport, with the potential for over 200. Williamsport Mayor Gabe Campana is welcoming those numbers with open arms. Campana says, “We are welcoming to any business bringing family- sustaining jobs to our city, and that’s what they’re doing.” (WBRE-TV, 5/19/11)

“Chemical Industry Looking to Expand in Pa. Because of Marcellus Shale”: The chemical industry — newly optimistic because of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale — is looking at Pennsylvania as a venue for expansion. Secretary of Community and Economic Development Alan Walker said Friday morning that “Three very large international chemical companies came to us and expressed interest in billion-dollar-plus investments in Pennsylvania.” (Patriot-News, 5/21/11)

Nation’s Top Environmental Regulator, Independent Experts Confirm Hydraulic Fracturing’s Record of Safety

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: Shale Gas “Can Have a Number of Economic Benefits”: This Administration is also committed to promoting timely and safe domestic natural gas development. Thanks to advances in drilling technology, including hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – America’s potential natural gas resource is nearly fifty percent larger than we believed it was just a few years ago. … Burning natural gas creates less air pollution than burning other fossil fuels. So, if done safely, increasing America’s extraction of natural gas can have a number of economic benefits. (U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Remarks, 5/24/11)

EPA Chief Confirms Hydraulic Fracturing Has Never Impacted Groundwater: “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” (US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Remarks, 5/24/11)

PSU Geologist, Expert: “Zero Evidence” That Hydrofracturing Has Impacted Groundwater: Dr. Terry Engelder, the Penn State geologist credited with advancing the exploration of the Marcellus, said the recent study from Duke University lends additional support to the water companies’ results: It found zero evidence that fracking fluids had contaminated the water supply. Engelder said the reason is very simple: The fracking occurs about a mile below the aquifer and “Water does not flow uphill.” (Patriot-News, 5/21/11)

Fmr. NY Assemblyman Michael Benjamin: “Phony Fears on Fracking”: Natural-gas exploration is an economic necessity, both for the Southern Tier and for reducing our dependence on higher priced, out-of-state natural gas supplies. Opposing gas exploration without any credible evidence of danger to our water supply isn’t in the best interest of our economy. Creating upward of 20,000 good-paying jobs in upstate New York and generating millions of dollars in taxes and fees for our state treasury would reduce future deficits and ensure the success of Gov. Cuomo’s approach to leaner, smarter government. (New York Post Op-Ed, 5/19/11)

John Stossel: Hydraulic Fracturing Creating Cheaper American Energy: But hydraulic fracturing is a wonderful thing. It’s not new. Companies have done it for 60 years, but now they’ve found ways to get even more gas out of the ground. That’s the reason gas is getting cheaper and panicky politicians no longer rant about America “running out of fuel.” (Washington Examiner Op-Ed, 5/19/11)