Just the raw numbers in a recent Associated Press analysis speaks to the economic impact of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania.
The drilling in 2011 generated $3.5 billion in gross revenues for drillers, but that's only part of the story.
It takes an estimated $5 million to bring a well into production. With about 2,200 active wells in Pennsylvania, that comes to $11 billion in additional investment, mostly in the past four years.
There is new pipeline construction on the drawing board in the state.
And with minimum royalties in Pennsylvania at 12.5 percent of well revenues, property owners were paid $400 million last year.
During this year, the natural gas impact fee has been enacted and will have a major future impact on municipal coffers in places where funds are needed to replace infrastructure wear and tear.
Finally, with a sharp drop in wholesale prices, more money will be made and jobs created by petrochemical companies that process the gas into other industrial and consumer compounds.
All these facts in the AP analysis add up to an undeniable economic impact from the natural gas industry that goes far beyond pro and con arguments of those for and against the industry.
The plain fact is that every state resident in benefitting economically from this natural gas development phenomenon.
That makes it imperative for the state to nurture the industry with proper regulation, environmental care and a spirit of economic cooperation in the foreseeable future.