Posted May 22, 2013
You’ve got to wonder if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets tired of his state being compared to other states that are taking forward-looking approaches to energy development – and are seeing job creation and economic growth as a result.
Unfortunately for the governor, that’s what you can expect when you’re keeping significant shale reserves underground – delaying jobs and growth – while other states are realizing both from shale development, states like Pennsylvania, Texas, North Dakota and soon, Illinois.
Lawmakers in Illinois have approved a bill for state regulation of hydraulic fracturing that would clear the way for development of its shale reserves. The measure was crafted with input from industry and environmental groups, including the Sierra Club.
New York continues to dither, maintaining a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing imposed in 2008 – blocking job growth and economic stimulus when the state’s unemployment rate remains above the national rate. Residents in parts of the state’s Southern Tier are suffering the cruelest cut. Gannett Albany Bureau Chief Joseph Spector’s blog:
Only two areas of the state last month didn’t increase jobs between April 2012 and April 2013: Elmira and Binghamton. And today, labor statistics showed that Elmira was the only area in the state that didn’t see its unemployment rate decrease over the year. Elmira and Binghamton share something else: They both sit over the gas-rich Marcellus Shale.
New Yorkers know of the benefits that fracking has brought to neighboring Pennsylvania – new jobs and boosts to manufacturing and associated sectors. They are benefits that could accrue in the Empire State as well.
Yet, Spector reports the governor is unmoved by the economic potential of shale. Cuomo said this week a decision on fracking won’t be based on the local economy. “The decision is made on the science,” he said. “So these numbers wouldn’t matter.”
The science (including recent studies by the U.S. Geological Survey and Duke University) says fracking is safe – and a number of officials and agencies have said so – including New York’s own analysis. And these economic numbers matter: 15,000 to 18,000 jobs in the Southern Tier and Western New York, $11.4 billion in economic output, $1.4 billion in tax revenues to localities and the state, according to a Manhattan Institute study.
Jobs and opportunity are important for individuals and communities. New York has waited long enough, studied long enough – watched other states prosper from shale development long enough. Getting energy from shale is being done safely. Needed is the political leadership to move forward, as other states are doing, to safely and responsibly let New York capitalize on its shale wealth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.