Report: Fracking would boost income levels upstate


A new report from a conservative think tank says income levels would grow more rapidly upstate if New York allows hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale.

The report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy found New York counties sitting within the gas-rich formation could see their per-capita income increase by 15 percent by 2015 if the state gives shale-gas drillers the green light.

That figure would represent a 6 percentage point increase over the counties’ current trends.

“By our count, there are immediate and concrete benefits in hydrofracturing wells: more money in the pockets of the people, more tax revenue for the state,” the report reads. “These data deserve close attention and consideration as New York State confronts its decision.”

The Empire Center is the state-centric branch of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a business-backed think tank.

The report examines Pennsylvania economic data from 2007 through 2011 and extrapolates it to New York, finding generally that the counties that saw the most high-volume wells saw the most rapid income growth. Those counties are mostly in the northeast and southwest corners of the state.

Overall, the paper — authored by Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who was chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor under the Bush Administration — found that the 28 New York counties that lie within the Marcellus Shale could generate as much as $8.29 billion in extra income by 2015 if large-scale fracking is allowed.

But that figure is based on an unlikely assumption: That all of those counties would see 400 wells drilled. The “sweet spot” of the shale is believed to be along the Pennsylvania border, while counties like Albany, Erie, Genesee and others on the outer edge are not believed to be targeted for development.

The positive economic impacts have been the main selling point for proponents of fracking, who also have highlighted the energy benefits of producing natural gas domestically and shifting from coal.

Opponents of fracking, however, point to the environmental detriments of the heavy industrial activity and the potential for damaging errors. The economic benefits are overblown and temporary, they say.

“Reputable, independent studies have shown that the job gains promised by the gas industry are temporary, and bring increased infrastructure costs that these studies rarely examine,” said John Armstrong, a spokesman for New Yorkers Against Fracking. “Once the workers have gone back to Louisiana and the gas industry has shipped its profits to Texas, our communities would be left with toxic air and water. That’s not a good deal for New York.”

Here’s the Empire Center/Manhattan Institute report:

Economic Growth


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  1. Hugh Kimball on

    The report sounds similar to the socio-econmic report which DEC had written by an industry associated group and inserted into the last version of the SGEIS. All positives and ignoring all the likely negatives. Even Commissioner Martens said that report would have to be revised. This does not sound much different.

    If it sounds too good to be true, you can pretty well bet that it is.

  2. Joanne Corey on

    LIke the E&E economic chapter for the SGEIS, this report is based on a level of drilling which is totally implausible. It also conveniently only uses data from the drilling boom years, ignoring what is happening in places like Montrose PA now.

    When the rigs pulled out of the dry gas areas to head to wet gas areas further west, many of the businesses that were relying on drilling dollars have had to cut back on their employees or even close their doors entirely. Royalty checks to landowners have also plummeted, due to production decines and the fact that companies deduct post-production costs from them.

    Other economic studies which look at county statistics over time show that counties that rely heavily on extractive industries do less well over time than those that do not rely on extractive industries.

    I live in the Southern Tier and prefer the approach of our Regional Economic Development Council, which includes renewable energy businesses in conjunction with the research being done at our universities, as well as other hi-tech businesses, including transportation, health care, education, agriculture, tourism, and increased access to broadband access in our rural areas. This gives our area its best way forward for sustainable development that doesn’t industrialize our landscape and decrease our public and environmental health.

  3. Wow, the lefties really want to keep upstate NY down by not letting them drill for natural gas.

    And what’s wrong with cheap energy? Lots of us use Natural Gas to heat our homes, utilities use it to generate electricity and factories use it run their plants.

  4. carol tansey on

    Water and air, upon which all life depends, will be polluted with fracking. So what if we have more money – our environment will not be able to support life! The fable of King Midas demonstrates the issue.

  5. Hugh Kimball on

    It ceases to be “cheap” when the process of getting from deep in the earth to the place of use causes pollution of air, water, and ground, when those living near the gas wells get sick, and when leaking methane accelerates global warming. By the way, not all of us are “lefties.” I am a fiscally conservative Republican who values clean water.

  6. Why do you think fracking will all of a sudden lead to contaminated drinking water? That’s a strech by any imagination.

    Many states already allow fracking and it’s being done safely so why not NY.

    What’s your plan Hugh? Solar? Wind Farms? Import more from the middle east? You don’t seem to have any plan.

    Natural Gas is our future, embrace it my friend!

  7. Ellen Osuna on

    While there would be “immediate” economic benefits, at what cost?

    And even when the lens is purely economic, with no care for the health effects of air pollution, poisoned water, radioactive waste, etc etc … even from a money-trumps-all way of looking at things, shale drilling has been shown to be a game of inflated projections and diminishing returns.

    ** Please visit the website Shalebubble dot org to access these reports –

    “In February 2013, Post Carbon Institute and Energy Policy Forum released two ground-breaking reports that belie energy industry claims of U.S. energy independence as a result of newly accessible shale gas and shale (tight) oil. The report findings are based on an unprecedented analysis of over 60,000 U.S. shale oil and gas wells and an investigation of the role of Wall Street investment banks in the explosive growth of fracking for natural gas.”

  8. The anti-frackers just want to spew LIES. There is no contaminated water, no contaminated air, no contaminated soil, anything the anti’s claim are LIES. HVHF is being performed in 32 other states but not NY, US EPA has stated it is safe, the NY DEC has said it can be done safely, the NY DoH has concluded no negative health effects in Sept 2012, but the anti’s continue to spread LIES to hold up approval.

  9. Fracking creates good paying JOBS & we need them.

    So lets all be HAPPY with FRACKING

    Before there was the “Oracle of Delphi” there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

    VJ Machiavelli
    On Twitter @vjmachiavelli