Marcellus Shale Continues to be a Bonanza for Lil’ Broome Co.

This isn’t the first time we’ve blogged about the untold amounts of economic growth, revenue, jobs and development that the Marcellus Shale holds for Broome County in New York’s Southern Tier. Positioned along Pennsylvania’s northern border, Broome County holds enough clean-burning natural gas to pave the way for 16,000 good-paying jobs, $793 million in wages, and $15.3 billion in total economic output according to a study commissioned by the county government. This natural gas production – and the associated economic benefits – are wholly dependent upon the safe, well-regulated 60-year old energy production technique called hydraulic fracturing.

And now, even more positive news is thundering across local television channels in Broome County.

Under the headline “Economic Impacts of Drilling In Broome,” WBNG-TV reported this today:

Broome County could see a boom in business if natural gas commences in the Southern Tier.

An Economic professor from the University of North Texas formally presented a preliminary study Tuesday night to the County Legislature.

The study finds that gas drilling would generate hundreds of new jobs, but did not study how drilling will effect the area environmentally.

Researcher Bernard Weinstein believes millions of dollars in tax revenue make up for any environmental costs that could be looming down the road.

“Having worked at lot of gas companies who are drilling in Oklahoma and Texas that the environmental footprint is fairly small. If you look at the history of the Barnett Shale in Northern Texas, in the last 15 years there’s been very little of what one might call environmental disruption, accidents, excess wear and tear,” said Weinstein.”

And FOX 40 News WICZ-TV reported this under the headline “Gas Study: Big Bucks for Binghamton”:

“Natural gas drilling can transform the economy. … That’s what Bernard Weinstein told the Broome County legislature Tuesday evening.

“I’m not a geologist, I’m not a petroleum engineer, I’m not a geophysicist. I’m an economist,” Weinstein said.

And Broome County tapped him to conduct a three-month study on how Marcellus Shale drilling would financially impact the Southern Tier.

“We have done our due diligence on the environmental side, we have made recommendations to the DEC, we have talked to our federal representatives.  We just believe if it’s done properly, done right, it could have a tremendous economic impact on our region,” Deputy County Executive Darcy Fauci said.

Weinstein compares the Southern Tier to Northern Texas — where the Barnett Formation has brought in more than six million dollars. “Binghamton and Broome County are sitting right on top of the Marcellus Shale.  That’s about five times the size of the Barnett,” Weinstein said. And if Greater Binghamton maximizes drilling — Weinstein says that would mean 10 to 15 billion dollars for Broome over 10 years.”

But, for these jobs and revenues to be realized, Governor Patterson must move forward with issuing leases. And, even if he does, and the DeGette-Hinchey-Casey anti-fracking bill becomes law, this economic revival could be swept away – which might make for a good Broome County pun, but not for a good Broome County economy.

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