A new academic study says New York's moratorium on shale gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing stands in the way of more than $11 billion in economic output, thousands of new jobs and more than $1 billion in state tax revenues.
Those benefits would accrue by 2020 if last year's ban on fracking/horizontal drilling, according to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research study, released Wednesday. State legislators currently are considering extending the ban, which is scheduled to expire next month.
Primary author Timothy Considine told the Binghamton (N.Y.) Press & Sun-Bulletin the report's estimates are conservative, based on 330 horizontal wells in the Marcellus shale region of southern and western New York. "It could be much larger than the numbers projected in my report," said Considine, a University of Wyoming professor and economist. "The $11.4 billion number is based on a fairly limited development scenario."
New York's political debate comes amid a job boom in the Marcellus regions of neighboring Pennsylvania - 48,000 during the past 18 months, according to state officials.
The Manhattan Institute study used data from Pennsylvania to quantify fracking's impacts on land, water and air. Key conclusions:
"Our main finding is that the cost of these environmental impacts is far smaller than the economic benefits that drilling can provide. ... Those environmental problems that have arisen in connection with hydraulic fracturing in no way call into question the soundness of that procedure."
The report says the ongoing moratorium is hamstringing New York's economy for no good reason:
"Our findings suggest that the current shale gas drilling moratorium imposes a significant and needless burden on the New York State economy. In short, the economic benefits of developing shale gas resources in New York State are enormous and could be growing, while the environmental costs of doing so are small and could be diminishing if the moratorium is lifted and if proper policies are put into place."