The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This past weekend, New York Gov. David Paterson vetoed a misguided bill that would’ve established a blanket ban on responsible energy development all across the state – effectively bringing to an end an industry that’s been in place in New York for more than 170 years. This directly from the governor’s office:

“The Governor vetoed legislation that would have placed a moratorium on high-volume, horizontal hydraulic drilling and more conventional vertical drilling. The Governor’s order obviates the need for a moratorium on high-volume fracking. However, vertical drilling has been a fact in this State for 40 years without demonstrable environmental damage. Permitting for such drilling will continue unless the DEC’s comprehensive review requires it to be stopped.”

Our friends at Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York (IOGA of NY) also weighed-in on the governor’s decision. In a statement, IOGA-NY executive director Brad Gill said:

We are grateful to Governor Paterson for his courage and clear-headed judgment in vetoing S.8129-B (Thompson)/A.11443-B (Sweeney). This bill would have had far-reaching consequences to the state’s oil and natural gas industry, and to the communities in which our member companies work.

“We are very pleased that the governor saw the bill for what it was – a flawed piece of legislation replete with unintended and dire consequences for the people and businesses in our industry. Our members are aware of the considerable pressure put upon lawmakers and the governor to approve this bill. We’re hopeful that the governor’s veto today will set the stage for a more reasoned and rationale public discussion about these issues going forward.”

Unfortunately, many claims continue to be made about the safety, effectiveness and overall ability for domestic energy producers to ensure that the process is done right, which will ultimately help deliver affordable supplies of homegrown energy to American consumers who continue to face historic unemployment rates.

Here’s a few recent claims, and actions, that are flatly disconnected with the reality and the facts as it relates to the overwhelmingly positive economic impact of shale gas production and fracturing’s long and clear record of environmental safety.


Doug Shields, Pittsburgh City Council

Three weeks after enacting a ban on natural-gas drilling in Pittsburgh, city council on Tuesday voted to discourage Marcellus Shale production farther afield.

The nonbinding resolution, called a “will of council,” urges the trustees of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History not to allow drilling or extraction on the 2,200-acre Powdermill Nature Reserve in Westmoreland County. … It can allow extraction without allowing drilling on the property because of horizontal drilling, which would allow a company to drill a well off of the Powdermill property and extend the line horizontally underneath the site to extract its gas.

The resolution says Carnegie trustees may lease Powdermill land “for shale gas exploitation” because of a potential royalty windfall. The resolution urges the trustees to “reject any and all offers” from gas companies. The resolution was introduced by Councilman Doug Shields, the sponsor of council’s recently enacted law banning gas extraction citywide. (Post-Gazette, 12/11/10)


The Pittsburgh City Council isn’t at all bashful when it comes to passing misguided – and unconstitutional – bans on job-creating shale gas production, for sure. But why is the council working aggressively to ban clean-burning natural gas production outside of its city-limit jurisdiction in other Pennsylvania counties, as well as in other local and municipal governments across the Commonwealth?


The lure of millions of dollars in natural gas royalties has prompted officials at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to study whether to permit drilling on the Marcellus shale range at its Powdermill Nature Reserve in Westmoreland County. Carnegie spokeswoman Betty Momich said trustees of the Pittsburgh-based museum are a long way from deciding whether to allow drilling on the 2,200-acre preserve in Cook Township.

We are a science-based organization that is very passionate about environmental and conservation issues,” she said. … “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the state, private landowners and organizations like ourselves. But that’s not the only consideration here,” Momich said. (Tribune-Review, 8/25/10)


Cornell Prof., who runs a university-funded ‘green jobs’ site:

Susan Christopherson, an economic geographer at Cornell, said that almost 70 percent of the economic gains would go to upstate landowners and that most of the industry jobs and long-term economic gains would go elsewhere.

The oil and gas industry is much more like financial services than manufacturing,” she said. “You don’t have continuous jobs and long-term production. What you usually get is a boom and bust cycle.” (New York Times, 12/12/10)


Study: Marcellus Production in NY Could Create 16,000 In-State Jobs Over 10 Years

Over a 10-year period the economic impact of drilling alone could exceed $15 billion, supporting more than 16,000 person-years of employment and generating salaries and wages of $792 million. State and local tax coffers would receive $85 million of new revenues. (Potential Econ. & Fiscal Impacts from Natural Gas Production in Broome Co., NY; 7/09)

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