by Mark Green
You can’t help but feel empathy for New York state residents, struggling with high unemployment and low economic growth. Ads touting the “new” New York’s open-for-business attitude are airing nationally, trying to encourage new start-ups and to convince enterprises from other states to relocate in the Empire State.
Yet, the potential for dynamic economic growth and robust job creation is right under New Yorkers’ feet. The state’s Southern Tier counties sit atop the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale – the same play that has fostered boom conditions in much of Pennsylvania.
But New York has had a moratorium on natural gas drilling – hydraulic fracturing – since 2008. The effect is a moratorium on shale energy jobs, shale energy economic growth and shale energy revenue for state and local governments. So, while Pennsylvanians benefit from natural gas jobs and associated economic growth, New Yorkers wait. And wait. A recent Marist survey reports:
Although a majority of New York State voters — 53% — think the state’s economy is staying about the same as it has been, there has been an uptick in the proportion of voters who think it is getting worse and a drop in the proportion who believe it is getting better. Nearly three in ten — 29% — say the state’s economy is getting worse, and 18% report it is getting better.
Meanwhile, Empire State Development Corp., the state’s economic development agency, is hard at work trying to drum up business, literally – even as shale energy’s vast potential remains buried while state leaders delay development. As the infographic below illustrates, the price is high in the thousands of jobs that could be created in New York – as well as billions of dollars in economic output and tax revenues.
New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau:
“With every day that goes by in Upstate New York when well production doesn’t begin, these communities are losing out on local property taxes that could be generated from producing gas wells, land owners are losing out from royalties, farmers who can‘t pay their taxes are seeing their farms go under; and they all have this resource under the ground.”
“Big Happens Here” is the slogan in Empire State Development’s ongoing ad campaign. “Big” certainly could happen – if state leaders quit the dithering and cleared the way for safe, responsible development of New York’s shale wealth.