As a citizen of Texas and a summer resident of New York, I want to urge all of you New Yorkers to oppose, as strongly as you can, fracking in New York state.
You may realize that modern fracking started in Texas several decades ago in the 1990s. Today, we in Texas produce two million barrels of oil a day by fracking statewide and over five billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from just from one field, the Barnett Field. So to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis’s song from 1957, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ on,” I would say there’s a “Whole Lotta Fracking Goin’ On” in Texas.
I have been watching articles and letters to the editor in The Gazette, and let me give you my heartfelt thoughts.
First, disregard the thoughtful and factual article by Russell Wege in the Viewpoint section of The Gazette on July 20 describing fracking, or Ed Brady’s letter giving practical experience (August 2).
Instead, pay attention to the emotional appeals of Karen Cookson (April Gazette) and letter writers like Charles Rielly (July 20 Gazette), Glenn Sanders (July 26 Gazette) and Daniel Hill (August 2), and oppose fracking in New York.
Let’s realize that Mr. Wege (according to LinkedIn) is a petroleum engineer. Of course, he being a petroleum engineer, we should discount his comments on fracking. After all, engineers are like businessmen, aren’t they? So we shouldn’t trust any of them.
We should instead rely on people like Cookson, Rielly, Sanders and Hill. I haven’t been able to ascertain the educational and practical experience of these people, but I am sure that it is impressive. After all, they function on emotion, and emotion is good in making decisions, isn’t it?
It was bad enough when North Dakota started fracking and competing with Texas oil production, thus bringing down the price of oil. Then Pennsylvania came on line, reducing the price of natural gas. We don’t need New York to further reduce prices.
As the Council on Foreign Relations noted, “Between 2006 and 2012, even as U.S. employment declined, employment in North Dakota and Texas grew by 3.4 and 1.5 percent, respectively — the fastest growth rates in the country.”
That might slow down if New York started fracking.
When natural-gas-powered vehicles become widespread, New York fracking would contribute to lowering the price of transportation, going against the Obama Administration policies of keeping gasoline and electric prices high so that less is used.
Mr. Hill fears the consequences of oil traveling by rail. I am sure he would also agree with the administration that the Keystone pipeline should not be completed. Although this would reduce the amount of oil traveling by rail, it would contribute to an increase in the use of what he calls “poisonous and explosive” fossil fuels.
Anyway, now that fracking is going gang-busters, with North Dakota producing one million barrels of oil per day and Pennsylvania now producing over eight billion cubic feet of gas per day, we really need to rein in any further fracking.
Look at what could happen if New York started fracking.
The supply of natural gas would go up, and therefore the price would go down. We in Texas would be making less money. Electricity prices would go down because so much of natural gas production goes to electricity production (27 percent of electric generation in 2013).
If prices of electricity go down, then usage would go up (the law of supply and demand, don’t you know) and people would use more.
In North Dakota, fast-food jobs in the oil fields pay over $15 per hour. You don’t want that kind of thing in New York. Won’t it be better to wait until the federal minimum wage is increased rather than rely on fracking to increase wages in New York?
All in all, I can only predict a dismal future if fracking proceeds in New York. Employment will rise in the state, so federal assistance will go down. Income will go up, so taxes paid will go up. Property values will go up so that real estate tax revenue will go up.
The trend of people leaving New York might be reversed so that those of you who stay will have less room to enjoy the state. Companies like GE that produce gas turbines for electric power production will have more business and, as a result, increase their profits.
Clearly a bad thing. But most of all, Texas will get less revenue, and that’s a horribly bad thing.
William Malec is the retired executive vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority who summers in Galway. The Gazette welcomes qualified individuals to contribute to its Opinion section. Send suggestions to Mark Mahoney at firstname.lastname@example.org.