The shale fracking boom has had a significant impact on the US economy. However, not all states have jumped on board.
Pennsylvania is a prime example of a state that has taken advantage of the benefits of shale gas and hydraulic fracturing. According to a report from StateImpact, during the last six months of 2013, Pennsylvania production increased to an average of 9.2 billion cubic feet of gas a day, which is “enough to satisfy an eighth of the nation’s daily natural gas demand.” This was up from an average of 6.1 billion cubic feet of gas a day in 2012.
The natural gas industry has grown Pennsylvania’s economy. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report from February of this year, Pennsylvania’s average annual employment in the oil and natural gas industry rose by over 15,000 jobs from 2007-2012 – a 259.3 percent increase in five years.
One PA project in particular epitomizes the impact of shale energy – Consol Energy’s Pittsburgh Airport project. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story this past weekend about the economic implications of the project. Consol “expects the airport project will bring more than $1 billion to the region, including a $50 million bonus payment paid to the Allegheny County Airport Authority last year, 18 percent royalties to the authority over the next two decades and $500 million in capital spending by Consol."
But not all states are traveling the same path as Pennsylvania. Many areas of New York are actively fighting fracking operations within the state. The New York City Council just introduced a bill to ban the “discharge, disposal, sale or use” of fracking waste water in New York City. The goal of the bill, as reported in an Epoch Times article, is to demonstrate opposition to fracking within the state. NYC joins over 170 municipalities in the state of New York that implicitly ban fracking. Over a dozen counties regulate fracking in some fashion. Earlier this year, NY’s League of Women Voters joined the chorus by commissioning a report which opined that fracking within New York would not provide profits to energy companies due to low gas prices.
All of New York does not reject fracking. John Holko, whose business is part of the shale supply chain, wrote an op-ed for The Buffalo News, which explains how he believes many people fighting hydraulic fracturing are doing so without considering the tremendous steps the oil and gas industry has taken in the past decade to make fracking a safer form of natural gas harvesting. He commends Ohio and Pennsylvania for embracing fracking and reaping the economic benefits.
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