What They’re Saying: Shale Gas Development Moving Country Toward Cleaner Energy Future, Diminishing the Middle East’s Strategic Importance

New York Times Columnist Joe Nocera: “The country has been handed an incredible gift with the Marcellus Shale. With an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of reserves, it is widely believed to be the second-largest natural gas field ever discovered. Which means that those of you who live near this tremendous resource have two choices. You can play the Not-In-My-Backyard card, employing environmental scare tactics to fight attempts to drill for that gas. Or you can embrace the idea that America needs the Marcellus Shale, accept the inconvenience that the drilling will bring, but insist that it be done properly. If you choose this latter path, you will be helping to move the country to a fuel that is — yes — cleaner than oil, while diminishing the strategic importance of the Middle East, where American soldiers continue to die. (New York Times, 4/15/11)

“Local Economy Could Benefit From Utica Shale Leasing”: Ohioans are rediscovering oil and natural gas in their own backyards, because of the potential of the Utica Shale deposits thousands of feet below the surface. And Coshocton and surrounding counties are primed for the pumping. Energy companies are looking to lease land to expand west out of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale and into Ohio’s Utica Shale play. … “It’s a game-changer for the economy here,” [Jack Sordoni, president of Homeland Energy Ventures] said, due to the potential for six-figure bonus payments and annual royalties. (Coshocton Tribune, 4/17/11)

NY Congressman Tom Reed: “New York – and America – Can Profit From Marcellus Shale”: Responsible development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas field has tremendous potential to help meet both of these challenges, and many, many more. In 2009, the production of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania had an economic output of more than $3.8 billion, and generated more than $400 million in state and local tax revenues, while creating 48,000 new jobs. There is no reason to believe that we wouldn’t see a similar positive effect in New York. We need this economic development. The 2010 census numbers released recently were, unfortunately, no surprise. Western New York and the southern tier of New York experienced concentrated levels of population decline. … Penn State recently determined that counties in Pennsylvania where Marcellus development has taken place saw, on average, an 11 percent growth in sales tax revenue. Our local governments could derive much needed revenue from Marcellus Shale production. (Washington Examiner, 4/14/11)

“Ohio’s Shale Deposits Hold Potential For Oil, Gas Jobs”: Thousands of feet below the surface of Ohio, encased inside a rock formation millions of years old, is a veritable ocean of oil and natural gas that could be worth billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs. … Eventually, drilling jobs could be created in eastern Ohio, where unemployment rates are much higher than the state and national averages. Some landowners there already have benefited, getting thousands of dollars per acre from mineral extractors competing over increasingly fewer tracts. … Pennsylvania and West Virginia both enjoyed a natural gas boom in recent years spawned from the Marcellus Shale, which sits a thousand feet or so above the Utica and has only a small presence in the extreme east of Ohio. … A Penn State University report, updated last year, on the economic effect of the Marcellus projects expects 111,000 total jobs to be created this year alone. More than $10 billion will be added to the Pennsylvania economy through extraction from the Marcellus, according to the report. (Zanesville Times Recorder, 4/17/11)

“Marcellus Among Reasons Pittsburgh Moves up 48 Slots on Small Business Vitality Rankings”: Credit the Marcellus gas exploration boom for keeping Judy Wojanis smiling these days. The emerging gas industry is fueling double-digit sales growth at Wojanis Hydraulic Supply Co. Inc., a Coraopolis-based supplier of pneumatic and fluid power equipment, said Wojanis, company president. And the company has been hiring, too. Wojanis Hydraulic employs 18 people, three of whom were added in the past year. “There’s been a boom during the last two years,” Wojanis said. “We’re very happy about it.” (Pittsburgh Business Times, 4/15/11)

“Unprecedented Economic Impacts of Shale Gas Development”: Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for Range Resources in Cecil, said that’s an example of the “unprecedented economic impacts of shale gas development” in the state. He noted an uptick this year in weekly wages in Washington County and an almost 50 percent increase in the number of Pennsylvania mining and logging industry jobs from 2007 to 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Tribune-Review, 4/17/11)