It’s never a quiet day in the battle over whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking in New York. Here’s a look at some of the latest news:
– The U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered the American Petroleum Institute and other industry trade groups to sponsor a report touting the job-creating potential of shale-gas drilling yesterday, giving a state-by-state look at current industry job numbers and estimates for future years.
But for New York, the report makes an interesting decision: It assumes the state will not allow “unconventional production” — which includes large-scale hydrofracking.
“But with permitting and drilling moratoria well-entrenched, it is uncertain whether unconventional production will be forthcoming from this state within the foreseeable future,” the report reads. “Consequently, no unconventional production from the state is being included within
the forecast period.
Still, the industry-backed study — conducted by Colorado-based forecaster IHS — finds New York’s job market has benefited indirectly from fracking, particularly in the financial sector. Unconventional gas drilling employed 44,000 direct and indirect jobs in New York in 2012 even without high-volume fracking allowed in New York, according to the report. By 2035, the study estimates that number to grow to 78,000.
It accounted for a $5 billion economic impact in 2012, the report found, including $1.6 billion in taxes.
The report does contain some puzzling errors, however. The most glaring? A reference to New York’s “$68 billion budget.” (The current year’s budget is about $132.6 billion.) (UPDATE: IHS emailed to say it has added a footnote to the report clarifying the state government numbers, noting it includes the state’s tax collections rather than its full budget.)
– Common Cause/NY took a look at campaign contributions given to Southern Tier candidates, finding about $400,000 in donations came from companies or firms tied to hydrofracking and most went to incumbents.
On the state level, that included $190,700 contributed to Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, a long-time fracking supporter, and $28,525 to Sen. Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats, Chemung County. Libous’ haul accounted for about 15 percent of his total money raised during the most recent two-year cycle.
The analysis pointed to some anomalies, as well. Republican Assembly candidate Julie Lewis, for example, ran a campaign based largely on her support for hydrofracking, but took “almost no support from fracking interests and boosters.” (Lewis was soundly defeated by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, Broome County.)
Common Cause included gas companies, industry or landowner attorneys, certain labor unions and other fracking supporters in its analysis.