Science, Public Opinion Continue to Mount in Favor of NY Marcellus Development

Despite the overwhelmingly clear evidence that clean-burning American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale can be safely developed in New York, Gov. Anthony Cuomo unnecessarily continues to embrace a hurry-up-and-wait approach tantamount to a de facto moratorium. In fact, the New York Times reports today that “the state’s Health Department found in an analysis it prepared early last year that the much-debated drilling technology known as hydrofracking could be conducted safely in New York.”

Given the economic, environmental and energy security benefits associated with responsible American natural gas development, especially in New York, why the reluctance — other than politics — to embrace this safe, tightly-regulated development?

  • ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH SAFETY: “Gas Drilling Is Called Safe in New York”: The [state Health Department] analysis and other health assessments have been closely guarded by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration as the governor weighs whether to approve fracking. … The eight-page analysis is a summary of previous research by the state and others, and concludes that fracking can be done safely. (New York Times, 1/3/13)
  • CLEANER AIR: If the Governor really believes carbon emissions are a major threat, the biggest contribution Mr. Cuomo could make would be to allow fracking. The more U.S. power plants burn natural gas instead of coal, the less particulate pollution and carbon dioxide are put into the atmosphere. … Last year the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a remarkable fact: Overall U.S. carbon dioxide emissions—the majority of which come from electricity generation—had fallen to their lowest level in 20 years, some 14% off the peak in 2007. There are upwards of 50 million more energy consumers in the U.S. than there were 20 years ago, so the achievement is all the more impressive. (Wall Street Journal editorial, 1/2/13)
  • MANUFACTURING JOBS: Thanks to falling natural gas prices, some area officials think we could see even more growth in manufacturing. “We definitely have a lot more interest” in natural gas from customers, said National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella. … Cheap natural gas also is putting downward pressure on electricity prices, as natural-gas fired power plants produce a greater share of the electricity. Among those seeing the greatest benefit are companies in the plastics and chemical businesses. (Albany Times Union, 12/29/12)
  • ECONOMIC GROWTH, ENERGY SECURITY: Columbia University law professor and dean of the school: This astonishing turn of events offers enormous benefits for our economy, security, and environment. The decline in natural-gas prices has enhanced consumer purchasing power and triggered a manufacturing boom. Recent studies indicate that fracking has added 1.7 million American jobs and 0.5 percent in annual gross domestic product growth. In addition, since many of the nations that produce oil and gas are unstable or hostile to America, it is better to be less dependent on them. Natural gas also burns more cleanly than other carbon-based fuels. The United States has dramatically reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions over the past five years – more than any other country. (Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed, 1/3/13)
  • PUBLIC SUPPORT: “Pluralities in N.Y., Pa. back drilling for natural gas in Marcellus shale, surveys find”: Two new surveys show that a significant percentage of people support drilling in portions of New York and that Pennsylvania residents who live amid heavy drilling think the benefits outweigh the risks. Siena College, outside Albany, N.Y., said this week that a late November poll of 822 registered New York voters found 50 percent of respondents in suburban areas support drilling in upstate portions of New York, and 32 percent are opposed. In New York City, 41 percent of those surveyed support upstate drilling, and 29 percent are opposed. (Associated Press, 12/10/12)

Facts, as they say, are awfully stubborn things. The responsible development of homegrown natural gas is Powering an American Renaissance. So why let narrowly-focused special interest politics prevail over this job-creating opportunity in New York?