For two decades, every politician running for statewide office in New York has promised to improve the Upstate economy -- and failed to deliver. In her 2000 Senate campaign, for example, Hillary Clinton pledged to create 200,000 jobs in upstate New York -- yet the region actually lost 48,000 jobs from 2000 to 2010.
As a candidate for governor, Andrew Cuomo never made a promise as direct as Clintons, though his campaign did release the obligatory plan to revitalize the upstate economy. But in an impassioned speech in April, Gov. Cuomo pledged to “bring the jobs back” to upstate New York, noting that hes “sick and tired of seeing too many young people go . . . to find their future somewhere else because they dont believe that theres a future in upstate New York.”
Why then is the governor not working to lift the states moratorium on “fracking” -- which has the potential to unlock vast quantities of natural gas Upstate, creating thousands of jobs where New York needs them most?
Fracking -- hydraulic fracturing -- is a drilling technique that uses high-pressure water (mixed with sand and some lubricating chemicals) to force natural gas (and sometimes oil) from shale rock formations. New York sits upon two vast shale deposits. One, the Marcellus Shale, also stretches beneath northeast Pennsylvania, where development is creating tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.
But New Yorks then-Gov. David Paterson last year issued a one-year fracking moratorium, ordering the Department of Environmental Conservation to study the issue. The DEC was supposed to release its report this month; its now scheduled for July.
While New York “studies” the issue, Pennsylvania and other states are reaping the rewards.
A recent Manhattan Institute study -- authored by Tim Considine, an energy economist at the University of Wyoming, and Robert Watson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protections Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board -- estimates that if New York followed Pennsylvanias lead and dropped its drilling moratorium, the economic benefits could be enormous.
By 2015, the state could enjoy $1.7 billion in added economic activity, 16,000 more jobs and $214 million in extra tax revenue if its natural gas reserves were developed. From 2011 to 2020, New York could gain $11.4 billion in economic output, 90,000 to 108,000 new jobs and $1.4 billion in tax revenues.
But what of the environmental concerns? The Institute study examines the records of environmental violations reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and finds that the cost of the environmental impacts caused by natural-gas drilling is far smaller than the economic benefits that drilling can provide. And the incidence of environmental problems could be further reduced if New York were to adopt sensible policies, such as stringent well-design and wastewater-management standards and an active regulatory oversight regime.
What New York cant afford to do is sit on the sidelines for another two or five or 10 years while other states exploit the enormous economic potential of natural-gas extraction. This is especially true in Upstate, where “economic development” strategies in recent years have seemed to begin and end with keeping open half-empty prisons and handing out dubious grants and loans for pork-barrel-spending projects.
At the Manhattan Institute forum where we released our study, former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell stressed that it was important to “get it right” with regard to rules and regulations -- but, at the end of the day, “If Gov. Cuomo asked me my advice about lifting the moratorium, I would tell him the moratorium should be lifted. Theres too much of an upside for New York state and too much of an upside for America.” Gov. Cuomo, please give Ed Rendell a call.
Original Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/keeping_the_jobs_promise_to_upstate_1NjcjD9jyW9fvizxktVhiO