Studies in the Marcellus shale region are documenting the negative impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas on community costs and the farming and tourism economic sectors.
The impacts of a heavy extractive industry like natural gas drilling in rural areas – destruction of farm or forest land, 24-hour operations with noise and lights, large wastewater lagoons, hundreds of heavy trucks on remote roads – are taking a toll in rising costs of community services to mitigate impacts and on other sectors of the local economy.
The Multi-Shale Collaborative has issued its first report, which shows that shale gas drilling produces far fewer jobs than projected in the Marcellus shale region and makes little difference in local trends in job growth. Despite the promises of industry supporters, the report documents trends consistent with the boom and bust cycle that has characterized extractive industries for decades. It also points to the need for state and local policymakers to do more to enact policies that serve the public interest.
The Collaborative is a joint project of fiscal think tanks in five states, which seeks to document the economic impacts and cost to community services of drilling in the Marcellus shale, with case studies of impacted counties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Project participants include the Keystone Research Center/Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PA), Fiscal Policy Institute (NY), Policy Matters (OH), Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (VA), and West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy (WV).
The Multi-Shale Collaborative plans to issue more economic reports in the next few months, including the case studies, analysis of human services impacts and a guide for local governments to managing the pace and scale of shale gas development.
Cornell University Professor Susan Christopherson, the J. Thomas Clark Professor in the Department of City & Regional Planning, is leading a team of researchers looking into the economic consequences of shale gas drilling. Follow the link above to the Cornell Green Energy site, with reports on economic impacts, workforce challenges, water resource impacts and protecting local roads.
Farming & Fracking
The Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes region in New York held a Farm Forum, “Agriculture – The Promise & The Reality” on March 15, 2011 in Penn Yan, NY. Three excellent presentations: