Please Support Natural Gas Drilling in New York!
Dear Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens,
As the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues to update the permit guidelines and regulations associated with the future of natural gas development, and as the Legislature considers bills to further delay natural gas development, I am joining scores of New Yorkers in urging state leaders to allow objectivity and sound, scientific review to guide your decisions.
Repeated surveys of New York residents indicate that the public remains open minded about exploration of natural gas in Upstate regions such as the Southern Tier. This is a remarkable statistic given the immensely negative, well-funded and misleading campaign against responsible natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale.
New Yorkers have a right to oppose natural gas exploration, but science must trump rhetoric as we move forward. During his State of the Union Address, President Obama restated his commitment to produce domestic, clean-burning natural gas as a way to achieve greater energy independence, create jobs, and spur economic development and business creation. The president said, "We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk."
The Southern Tier continues to hemorrhage jobs and revenue. New York’s delay has already cost the state billions of dollars in economic impact, including lost opportunity for New York’s struggling landowners and communities.
Some companies have left the state to relocate just over the border in Pennsylvania, where the natural gas industry is thriving. In fact, in 2010 Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale industry "triggered $11.2 billion in economic activity, generated $1.1 billion in state and local taxes, and supported nearly 140,000 jobs," according to a recent report by the state's Department of Labor and Industry. Also in 2010, natural gas companies paid out more than $1.6 billion in lease and bonus payments to landowners, the department reported.
A December 2011 report by IHS Global Insight showed natural gas production in the United States will support 870,000 jobs and result in an additional $118 billion in economic impact over the next four years. A June 2011 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative (MITei) concluded that natural gas is abundant and can be produced at low cost. Researchers also found that natural gas will continue to grow as a transportation fuel and will play a major role in the economy in that less expensive fuel will bolster manufacturing and other industries.
Another study, this one from the Manhattan Institute, showed that ending the de facto moratorium in New York would yield more than "$11.4 billion in economic output." The same study concluded that 15,000 to 18,000 jobs could be created in the Southern Tier and Western New York. These areas lost a total of 48,000 jobs between 2000 and 2010.
During the week of March 12, 2012, a new study released by Wells Fargo economists concluded that industry activity will yield more than 200,000 additional jobs in Pennsylvania by 2020.
A final consideration: One natural gas well in the Town of Owego, Tioga County, could produce $345,025 in town, county and school taxes, according to New York's Fiscal Policy Institute. Factor in the environmental assurances provided by New York’s strict regulatory environment, along with the industry’s stellar record in New York, and it is absolutely clear that the state must not forego this remarkable opportunity.