Democratic State Rep. Michael Sturla is apparently not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Speaking of the impact of the Marcellus Shale drilling boom on Pennsylvania, Sturla said:
“Also, aside from building roads so their trucks can get to drill sites and doing a little stream work to mitigate damage from their road building, exactly what are all those things the drillers are doing for the local communities? Patronizing the bars at night? Driving up the cost of rental housing? Spreading sexually transmitted disease amongst the womenfolk? …”
Amongst the womenfolk? Why do I feel like I am watching an episode of Bonanza?
Sturla’s home district in Lancaster County lies outside the Marcellus Shale trend, but it’s hard to believe he is unaware of the substantial impact of gas drilling on the Keystone State’s economy. As documented in a study by Penn State University, the estimated benefits include:
Higher Economic Benefits – The Marcellus gas industry provides a direct economic stimulus of $10.4 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy. … The sum of these direct, indirect, and induced impacts is more than $20.46 billion in 2010. …
Higher Job Numbers – … When indirect and induced impacts are considered, the study estimates the total employment impact associated with Marcellus development amounts to almost 140,000 jobs, which represents the total number of jobs supported by the Marcellus industry. …
Higher Tax Revenues – … It is estimated that state and local tax revenue for the Commonwealth increased to slightly over $1.084 billion in 2010—with $802 million coming from indirect business taxes. Federal taxes paid increased by an estimated $1.44 billion—all due to Marcellus development. …
Lower Prices for Energy – … In 2010, the increase in Marcellus Shale gas production reduced natural gas prices by an estimated 12.6% versus projected natural gas prices in a Commonwealth that would have never experienced Marcellus exploration. … In other words, without the Marcellus, consumers would pay more than $633 million in additional energy costs. …
Lower Unemployment – … [I]t is in counties where higher drilling activity occurs that the reduction in the unemployment rate is most apparent and measurable. … Bradford County—and area with high gas drilling activity—had an unemployment rate of 8.33% in 2007. By the end of April 2011 it had an unemployment rate of only 5.95%.
Higher Tax Revenues – … [F]rom 2009 to 2010, Bradford County saw an increase in tax revenues of 13.22%, while Pennsylvania as a whole saw tax revenues decline (on average) by 2.26%.
[Source. Emphasis in original.]
It’s quite possible that an increase in economic activity would lead to an increase in extracurricular activity. The horizontal drilling boom might be responsible for an increase in, ahem, “horizontal drilling”.
That being the case, maybe the best course for the gas industry would be to adopt the “Otter Defense”:
Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.