By The Numbers: What Responsible Clean-Burning American Natural Gas Development Means For NY

Canonsburg, PA – Real progress is being made in New York State toward responsibly developing abundant supplies of clean-burning American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation. Recently, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its updated draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), the proposed regulatory framework for shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing, which “represent the most comprehensive measures in the country to protect not only drinking water but land, air and environmentally sensitive areas,” according to DEC commissioner Joe Martens.

And in an recent editorial, the New York Post called this progress “terrific news for New York’s economy — particularly in the Southern Tier, where residents are beyond desperate for work.”

Despite this positive progress, some groups nonetheless remain opposed to the safe, responsible development of job-creating American natural gas. As for the natural gas industry, Marcellus Shale Coalition president Kathryn Klaber remains “hopeful that (the report) genuinely seeks to balance the responsible development of American natural gas in New York with common-sense environmental policies.”

And while hope is indeed on the horizon, Doug Holtz-Eakin – a former Congressional Budget Office director – captures how critical Marcellus Shale production is for New York’s economy in a New York Daily News column this week under the headline “N.Y., start hydrofracking: Jobs await, and we all need cleaner, homegrown energy”:

  • “Opponents cling to their knee-jerk opposition. Already, New York has lost jobs and economic benefits as a result of its intransigence. At this point, realistically, natural gas development won’t begin until the latter half of 2012. A recent Manhattan Institute study found that such foot dragging could come at a cost of over $11.4 billion in economic output and $1.4 billion in tax revenues. And some 15,000 to 18,000 jobs could be created in the Southern Tier and Western New York, where 48,000 jobs were lost between 2008 and 2010.”

But just how many jobs and how much revenue tied directly to American natural gas development await New York? A Public Policy Institute, Inc. (PPI) report released today helps answer those important questions and puts into perspective how high the economic stakes are for New York families and small businesses. PPI, a research arm of The Business Council of New York State Inc., projects the following economic impacts in their study entitled “Drilling for Jobs: What the Marcellus Shale could mean for New York”:

62,620 Jobs In a five-county area outside of the New York City watershed, with 500 wells drilled per year, Marcellus Shale development could result in a total of more than 15,500 direct jobs and an additional 47,120 jobs by applying the 3.04 RIMS II multiplier, for a total of 62,620 jobs. (PPI study, 7/11)

$2.7 billion in value added;
$1 billion in local, state and federal taxes
Based on a projection of 500 wells, the Empire State could gain 62,620 jobs, $2.7 billion in value added and $1 billion in local, state and federal taxes. (PPI study, 7/11)

$345,025 In Tax Revenue From
a Single Marcellus Well

The report also explores the potential real property tax benefits of natural gas wells. PPI estimates that one Marcellus well in Owego, New York would generate $345,025 in combined real property tax revenue for the county, town and school districts. Revenue such as this would offer a tremendous boost to local economies in the Southern Tier. (PPI release, 7/14/11)

$79,184 Average Salary

Natural gas exploration also provides high paying jobs. The average wage in Oil and Gas Extraction and Support Activities for Mining is $79,184 in New York State, over double the private sector wage in upstate New York of $39,157. (PPI release, 7/14/11)

Families and small businesses across Pennsylvania understand the economic benefits of responsibly producing natural gas while protecting our air, water, and land.  It’s time for residents of the Empire State to join them. Mr. Holtz-Eakin is right: “All those concerned about energy sources, the environment and jobs for our middle class should welcome fracking in New York.”