By FREDRIC U. DICKER State Editor
July 22, 2011
ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo is hailing a new Pennsylvania study showing that the huge Marcellus Shale natural-gas field on the New York border could supply 25 percent of the nation’s gas needs and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Cuomo — who’s weighing a late-June report by the state Department of Environmental Conservation concluding that controversial “hydrofracking” gas drilling could be done safely in most parts of the Southern Tier — said the Pennsylvania report showed the enormous potential for job creation and economic development that the drilling offered New York.
“Assuming it can be done safely and is properly regulated, the economic reports from Pennsylvania show the potential financial and economic rewards from developing this industry,” said Cuomo spokesman Joshua Vlasto.
The new report, prepared by Penn State University researchers at the behest of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry-funded group, found that investment and production in the Marcellus Shale fields — adjacent to New York’s Southern Tier — has been skyrocketing.
It found that gas production had quadrupled from 2009 to 2010 and that the number of wells brought into operation grew by 77 percent.
The study estimated that gas production this year would rise by an additional 250 percent and that during the next nine years, Marcellus Shale production could supply 25 percent of the nation’s natural-gas needs.
It also projected that 2,300 new wells may be drilled this year and another 2,400 in each of the next five years.
The amount of money being spent in Pennsylvania to drill the wells is also staggering.
The report projected that spending on gas production would hit $12.7 billion this year, up from $3.2 billion in 2008.
It said the number of workers supported by the gas industry would likely hit 156,000 this year, up from 60,000 in 2009 and 140,000 last year.
Meanwhile, a think tank affiliated with the state Business Council predicted that 125,240 private-sector jobs could be created if New York permitted the drilling of less than half the 2,400 wells slated to be drilled this year in Pennsylvania.
“This figure escalates to 250,480 jobs if 2,000 wells were to be drilled” in New York, according to the Business Council’s Public Policy Institute.
Cuomo has backed the DEC report, asserting that hydrofracking could be done in the Southern Tier while banning it from watershed areas, including New York City’s.
To help oversee the drafting of gas-drilling regulations for New York, Cuomo has named a 13-member advisory group “of nationally recognized experts,” including his former brother-in-law Robert Kennedy Jr., a prominent environmental activist.
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- New Pa. Marcellus Shale Study Available HERE; Fact Sheet HERE.
- Highlights From New Study: “Prolific Marcellus Could Soon Lead US in Gas Production”
- By The Numbers: What Responsible American Natural Gas Development Means For NY
- Video: The Marcellus Shale: An American Renewal