The Cuomo administration is currently considering regulations that would allow widespread drilling and fracking for shale gas in New York. The regulations being considered are based on the state’s 1,537-page environmental impact analysis, which included a socioeconomic impact analysis with job and revenue projections for several different shale gas development scenarios in the state.
Food & Water Watch closely examined New York’s socioeconomic impact analysis and found that it does the people of New York a disservice. The New York analysis concluded that an “average” shale gas development scenario would bring 53,969 jobs, but only in the fine print of a footnote of the widely read factsheet is it mentioned that this is a 30-year projection.
Moreover, Food & Water Watch found that the analysis:
- Counts many jobs that would be filled by out- of-state workers, or by workers with shale gas industry experience who relocate to New York permanently;
- assumes a rapid pace of shale gas drilling and fracking under the “average” scenario that would result in more than 20,000 wells being drilled in just three counties of the state (Broome, Chemung and Tioga);
- fails to account for the negative impacts that drilling and fracking would have on employment in other industries, such as tourism and agriculture;
- overestimates production jobs by assuming that shale gas wells will produce for 30 years; and
- misapplies an economic multiplier to estimate the economic spillover effect of gas industry jobs.
Based on the New York analysis, Food & Water Watch estimates that in the first year of the “average” shale gas development scenario, current New York residents can expect only 195 new oil and gas industry job opportunities. This would grow steadily to over 600 new jobs for current New York residents in the tenth year of development, but after this tenth year, there would be next-to-no new jobs for established New York residents.
For perspective, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 755,892 New Yorkers were unemployed in August of 2011,4 and thus the impact of 195 new oil and gas industry jobs would be about one-fortieth of 1 percent (i.e., 0.026 percent). This is far from the number of jobs that New York residents have been led to expect from shale gas development. Such minimal economic benefits do not justify the near-term and long-term public costs that would accompany drilling and fracking for shale gas.