NY Groups Urge Governor to Stay Committed to Natural Gas

A coalition of business and economic development groups, led by the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, urged Governor Paterson to remain committed to his draft State Energy Plan, in which he supports the expansion of natural gas exploration in New York.

Sixteen groups, including chambers of commerce and other pro-business and pro-taxpayer groups, reminded the governor of his stated position that expanded natural gas exploration "would generate economic benefits, including increasing the stable supplies of indigenous fuel, lowering gas transportation costs for consumers, generating new State and local tax revenues, and increased revenues for landowners from land use agreements with natural gas companies."

The letter was delivered as the state Department of Environmental Conservation nears the end of a nearly two-year process to develop a draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) -- the set of regulatory standards that guide natural gas exploration and extraction in New York. The draft SGEIS proposes stringent new regulatory standards to monitor natural gas exploration in the Marcellus Shale -- a deep rock formation that extends west from the Catskill Mountains to the Southern Tier and into Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The Marcellus Shale is America's largest natural gas deposit, and it carries the potential to greatly increase New York's energy independence, while vastly improving economic recovery and job creation.

"We believe that New York cannot afford to turn away or postpone the tremendous opportunity for economic resurgence and a clean energy supply presented by the Marcellus Shale," the groups stated in the letter. "The extremely stringent requirements proposed by the SGEIS
provide the public with the necessary oversight that natural gas exploration and extraction will be conducted in an environmentally safe manner."

Based on 300 wells drilled, Marcellus Shale development in New York will generate more than $1.4 billion in annual economic impact, including more than $100 million in lease payments to landowners, $32 million in state tax revenue and tens of thousands of new jobs over time.

According to a recent study, 2000 wells in Broome County alone would annually generate more than $7.4 billion in economic activity, and nearly $400 million in wages, salaries and benefits. It would also generate more than $600 million in property tax income, $22 million in state taxes and $20 million in local taxes.

"Natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel known to man, is a solution to reducing our nation's carbon footprint," the groups wrote. "It will greatly improve New York's and America's energy independence…and will serve as the transition to -- and the primary back-up for -- renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar."