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The good and mostly bad in New York's resistance to drilling
March 13, 2013 - Mike Maneval
While New York state health authorities say they will issue recommendations on hydraulic fracturing and natural gas drilling within weeks, New York's Southern Tier remains under a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling. A deadline on the matter passed by, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying one month ago, according to the Ithaca Journal, that the decision was "too important to rush," and that independent health studies - including one for which the results may not be known for years - will be considered in the decision-making process. It only can fuel the speculation, aired in September by the New York Times' Danny Hakim, that Cuomo is "consigning fracking to oblivion."
In the most parochial, short-sighted sense, the news that drilling in the Empire State remains indefinitely delayed is good for Pennsylvania. Whatever number of domestic jobs the gas industry creates in the coming year, Pennsylvanians looking for decent-paying work won't have to compete against New York's 19.5 million residents, other than those who choose to relocate to the Keystone State. However many new gas wells are drilled, Pennsylvania's property owners have better odds of benefitting from leasing revenues without the competition from north of the state line.
But in the long run, and with the overall health and sustainability of the U.S. economy in mind, New York's recalcitrance impedes the development of an alternative source of energy, and one readily available in domestic soil. At a time when a vast majority of U.S. energy comes from two non-renewable commodities - one of which the U.S. and the world increasingly is reliant on foreign dictatorships to provide - New Yorkers should not be so short-sighted to allow a marriage of uncompromising fringe environmentalism and "not-in-my-backyard" provincialism to leave the development of domestic resources to neighboring states. Even when the marriage delivers jobs and economic development to our state.
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