What can New York learn from Pennsylvania on hydrofracking?

There is no end to the debate on hydrofracking. Opponents are as enraged about the idea in New York as are supporters determined. Both sides regularly devolve in arguements to emotional bouts of illogic, thrusting feelings about other issues into the fray. Worst is when facts are subsititued for partisan political positions.

What is not commonly involved in the debate on hydrofracking, and natural gas drilling, is what people that are actually actively involved expereince and think. An issue that a recent Quinnipac Poll took on.

According to the Quinnipac poll,

“Pennsylvania voters say 63 – 30 percent that the economic benefits of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale outweigh the environmental impacts. Support is strong among men, women, all parties and in all regions, ranging from 55 – 38 percent among voters in the northeast corner of the state to 69 – 25 percent among voters in the northwest corner.

Voters support 69 – 24 percent a new tax on companies drilling for natural gas. Even Republicans support such a tax 59 – 33 percent. Support tops 60 percent among all other groups and in all regions.”

To be exact, the Poll shows that: 52% of Democrats, 67% of Union Households, and 58% of women favor drilling opposed to the caution of the environmental impact. Regionally, the NorthEast portion of Pennsylvania is the least favorable to the idea of drilling, at 55%, with the highest support in the NorthWest region of Pennsylvania – 69%.

As for the proposal to tax the companies that are doing the drilling: The lowest support comes from Republicans at 59%, the least favorable region is Philadelphia at 61%.

Such support stands in the face of years of pronouncements of woe from opponents and environmentalists. It stands over the biased independent films and oft-misquoted facts. It comes from unions and Democrats, historically the last people to support such a concept. Which should give Joe Martens and the NY DEC a moment of pause.

Since 1947 hydrofracking has been in use in the United States. There have been problems with hydrofracking since that time. Regulations have increased, and safety improved, but smaller companies – if left unwatched – can and do cut corners. Accidents of course happen, no matter what safeguards are in place.

But the Marcellus Shale is an actively drilled and hydrofracked source of natural gas in Pennsylvania. The people know first-hand the dangers, and the rewards. Given all of that, as shown in the Quinnipac Poll, the majority still believe it is both a plentiful source of needed tax revenue, and worth doing.

That is not to say that the floodgates should be thrown open, nor that regulations should be imposed that are so daunting as to disallow drilling. What it does say is that Matens and the DEC should approach this subject without preconcieved ideas or political agendas – both of which are plentiful in New York.

We continue to believe that with strong regulation, moderate taxes, and a watchful eye, hydrofracking and natural gas drilling can be a boon to New York. We believe that the Quinnipac Poll reflects that same view. Further, if the ongoing study into hydrofracking is done without preconception and political or environmental influence and supports our view, then New York should learn from what Pennsylvania has indicated in all sectors.

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About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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