Friday, October 16, 2009

Unshackle Upstaate Coalition Wants Natural Gas Drilling in New York

ROCHESTER, NY (10/15/2009)(readMedia)-- The business coalition Unshackle Upstate today expressed its strong support for expanded natural gas drilling in New York, citing the outstanding potential for long-term economic development and job creation in Upstate New York.

The coalition submitted joint comments with the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce to the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation, urging the body to consider the people who would like to continue to live in Upstate New York, as well as the sustained economic force that expanded natural gas exploration would have on Southern Tier communities decimated by years of job and industry loss.

"Our message is simple. All we want you to do is to remember three numbers: fourteen, eight-hundred and zero," said Brian Sampson, Unshackle Upstate's executive director. "Eight hundred is the number of natural resources jobs lost in the Southern Tier; fourteen is the number of miles separating Binghamton from Pennsylvania, where the economic benefits of natural gas exploration are clear; and Zero is the number of Marcellus Shale wells drilled in New York to date because of unnecessary delays."

The Assembly committee scheduled the hearing in response to the Department of Environmental Conservation's release of a draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which analyzes the range of potential impacts of shale gas development using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

"The oil and gas industry wants to expand current operations in New York State and, they are not seeking state assistance. Instead, they are asking downstate legislators to get out of the way and allow drilling to start," Sampson said. "Downstate legislators requesting continual delays should understand that delay comes at a price. Last year it was 800 jobs. Those who advocate for delay are shortsighted, and parochial. The Southern Tier needs the economic boost that could come from the Marcellus shale."

A recent study by Penn State University found that the Marcellus gas industry in Pennsylvania generated $2.3 billion in economic impact, created more than 29,000 jobs and resulted in $240 million in state and local taxes during 2008 alone. With a substantially higher pace of development during 2009, economic output will top $3.8 billion, state and local tax revenues will be more than $400 million and total job creation will exceed 48,000.

"If Broome County had 2,000 wells, drilling expenditures would total $7 billion and generate $7.6 billion in local economic activity and support more than 8,100 person-years of employment," according to the testimony.


Unshackle Upstate is a bi-partisan coalition of business and trade organizations representing nearly 45,000 companies that employ more than one million people. The coalition is stepping up its outreach programs in advance of the 2010 elections in an effort to promote government reform and fiscal responsibility. It has vowed to call out lawmakers who do not vote in the best interests of the people.

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