Job growth must be Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s top priority over the next four years. New York’s unemployment rate is still well above 6 percent. Over half a million state residents are out of work.
The governor’s best option for revitalizing the local job market is clear: rescind the moratorium on fracking. Driven by activist hysteria, then-Gov. David A. Paterson prohibited the practice in 2010.
That hysteria has since been firmly refuted by science. Fracking poses virtually zero risk to the environment. And allowing oil and gas drillers to get back to work will stir robust job creation throughout the state.
Fracking uses highly pressurized mixtures of water and sand, along with very small amounts of certain chemicals, to capture oil and natural gas embedded in underground rock formations. Green activists worry fracking contaminates the drinking water near drill sites. That claim has been heavily studied and revealed as baseless. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency has never reported a case of fracking causing groundwater contamination.
Meanwhile, the economic benefits of fracking are very real.
Fracking operations already support 2 million jobs nationwide and add nearly $300 billion to the U.S. economy every year.
New York’s southern neighbor, Pennsylvania, is a major beneficiary of fracking’s economic rewards. More than 200,000 Pennsylvania jobs are tied to oil and gas extraction. And these are exactly the kind of positions New York legislators are looking to cultivate locally, paying, on average, about $62,000 per year.
The switch to natural gas can make a huge impact on citizens’ health. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection estimates that the state and its residents have saved up to $37 billion in reduced health care costs as a result of better air quality.
Soon enough, lifting New York’s fracking moratorium won’t just be good policy – it will be a political imperative. The public is catching on to the fact that new fracking means new jobs.
New York voters just overwhelmingly re-elected Cuomo. He should repay that support by taking action guaranteed to boost their job prospects. Lifting the fracking moratorium would do wonders for New York’s economy.
Opinion by: Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy Corp., author of “The Fracking Truth” and producer of the documentary, “Breaking Free: The Shale Rock Revolution.”