WASHINGTON-To find a remedy for New York State’s persistent fiscal problems, New Yorkers need only look down-far down.
Miles below the Empire State’s mosaic of cities, suburbs, villages, lakes, farms, and highways lie vast reserves of natural gas, currently off-limits to producers. IF Albany were to permit development of these clean energy resources, it would spawn new jobs, a surge of economic activity–and more tax revenues.
How much more? A new study released Tuesday by the Manhattan Institute, a think tank where I am an adjunct fellow, estimates that in 2015 New York State could enjoy $1.7 billion in additional economic activity, 16,000 more jobs and $214 million in extra tax revenue if its natural gas reserves were developed.
Over the period 2011 to 2020, New York State could gain $11.4 billion in economic output, 90,000 to 108,000 new jobs, and $1.4 billion in tax revenues.
The study was authored by Professors Timothy Considine of the University of Wyoming and Robert Watson of Pennsylvania State University, and Nicholas Considine of Natural Resources Economics, a consulting firm. Nicholas Considine is the son of Professor Considine.
Neighboring Pennsylvania produces over 80 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year. It has 296 wells in the Marcellus Shale, a geologic formation that stretches into New York and West Virginia. Those wells have given the Keystone State an added $1.7 billion in economic activity a year and 18,000 jobs.
Whereas Pennsylvania , Texas, Arkansas, among others, are tapping into their natural gas reserves using a new method called hydraulic fracturing, New York has effectively banned the process, at least for the present, on the grounds that it might cause environmental damage, especially contamination of underground water.