Posted by: tylere108 | April 14, 2010

Fracking? Jobs? What?

Yes you read it right – fracking.

Fracking is the “new thing” in the natural gas business though to be honest its not so new. Fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) has been used for years to release pockets of natural gas in the ground that would otherwise be unreachable. For those of you who aren’t familiar with fracking, here is a great diagram on the process and how it works.

We could get into a long debate about fracking on this site – what the impacts are to God’s Creation – the land, the water, the very earth that we stand on, the health of our communities, the emissions created, all of it . . . and it is certainly a worthy debate. But today I wanted to share with you a recent article that revealed what fracking isn’t doing.

But maybe I should step back just a bit and provide some context. About 5 years ago (at least that is what I have been told), natural gas companies started exploring a gas reserve that covers most of Northeast PA and much of NY. With gas prices going up, natural gas was becoming a more competitive energy option (it tends to be expensive) so companies decided to start producing natural gas in what had been a fairly quiet part of the eastern seaboard.

With time, the company secured a few leases and started fracking the land to release the gas. A lot of people have serious concerns about the process which uses hundreds of undisclosed chemicals to fracture the ground (many of these chemicals get into the water supply) and leaves the land forever scarred. But one of the arguments for allowing this form of energy production was . . . you guessed it, job creation.

The NCC has never supported unsustainable energy development (such as fracking) for a few jobs here and there. While the short term benefits are helpful, the long-term environmental degradation leave future generations struggling to get by.

And yet, the energy company convinced many folks that jobs, jobs, jobs would be created by opening up the natural gas field in PA. But the jobs are nowhere to be found. Last week an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlighted the lack of job creation that has resulted from increased natural gas production around the state. (See below).

So this really gives up something to thing about – what happens when the energy company that promised you more jobs along with cheap energy can’t produce either, and at the same it increase air and water pollution and inflicts long-term irreversible impacts on the land?

Just a little food for thought . . .

NATURAL GAS: Marcellus Shale jobs predictions may not have panned out in Pa. (04/09/2010)

Supporters of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale have promised new drilling could create up to 100,000 jobs in Pennsylvania this year, but actual job creation appears to be falling well short.

According to a report last year by Penn State University’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Marcellus Shale drilling directly and indirectly created more than 29,000 jobs in Pennsylvania in 2008 and 48,000 jobs in 2009. The report, commissioned by the Marcellus Shale Gas Committee, predicted drilling operations would create at least 107,000 jobs this year.

Critics say those numbers are not borne out by reality. According to a report released last month by J.M. Barth & Associates, a New York-based research and consulting firm, the number of jobs in the oil and gas extraction industry has remained virtually flat in recent years despite increased investment in the Marcellus Shale.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that Pennsylvania’s mining and logging sector gained 2,500 jobs over the past three years, growing from 20,800 jobs in February 2007 to 23,300 jobs in February 2010.

“There’s a lot of wishful thinking out there,” said Jannette Barth, president of J.M. Barth & Associates. “They’re not [accurate] — or at least, they’re biased. They leave a lot of things out” (Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 9). — GN


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