Response to Industry Study on Marcellus Impact

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The Marcellus Shale Coalition released a new study today assessing the impact of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

Below is a statement I issued in response:

“This is the third study conducted by Penn State faculty on behalf of the natural gas industry into the economic impact of the Marcellus Shale. We are pleased to see that Penn State has made it clear this time that the study is sponsored and funded by the natural gas industry, not the university.

“Overall, we welcome the gas industry’s contribution to Pennsylvania’s economy, but with this study, the industry continues to overstate the economic benefits and underestimate the costs of increased drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

“The study overstates the number of jobs supported by the industry. It states that 140,000 jobs (2.4% of the state workforce) are supported by the industry, but jobs data from the state Department of Labor and Industry show that less than 19,000 people were employed directly in core Marcellus Shale industries at the end of 2010.

“The study also inflates the amount of tax dollars generated by the industry. The study attributes $1.1 billion in state and local taxes to industry activity in 2010. This is much higher than a recent Department of Revenue report that attributed $219 million in 2010 state tax payments to the gas industry and its affiliates.

“The study also suggests that a drilling tax or fee will deter investment in the Marcellus Shale. That has not been the case in places like West Virginia, Texas and Arkansas. All three states have drilling taxes and led the nation in new gas wells in 2010 — well ahead of Pennsylvania, without a drilling tax.

“Policymakers and the public need good data to understand the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling and how we can best maximize its benefits for the people of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, this study misses that opportunity.”

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