Those Who Frack and Those Who Don't = The Haves and the Have-Nots

Ithaca waterfall
What kind of difference can gas drilling really make on a community's economy?  A new article suggests that the economic gap between cities that frack and those who don't is so large that it is foolish to argue against drilling. posted a guest article which describes the different situations of Williamsport, PA and Ithaca, NY.  These two cities are similar at a glance, with similar sizes, populations, and per capita incomes.  They also both sit on the Marcellus Shale gas reserves.  More after the jump...

However, Williamsport welcomed the opportunity to develop shale gas and has enjoyed the economic benefits that came along with that decision.  The city's economy grew 7.8% in 2010, the year it started developing shale gas, which was 3 times the national average, while it ranked 7th in the nation in GDP growth.  The Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce estimates that up to 3,000 jobs have been created in two years.

Meanwhile, Ithaca saw its economy grow just 1% in 2010, with GDP growth at just 2/5 of the national rate.  Ithaca, like cities and towns all across the state of New York, has not allowed shale gas development because of an ongoing debate over the safety of fracking.

The crux of the article is that New York's economy can't afford to delay fracking any longer.  The economic benefits realized in Williamsport are hardly peculiar.  All across Pennsylvania similar results have been experienced, and here in Ohio we are seeing the same sort of effect from shale drilling.

But there are still those who call for the government to pump the brakes on fracking here.  What do you think of the debate?  Are the economic effects enough to outweigh the risk?  Is there really any risk?  Where do you come down on these issues, and how would you feel if you lived in New York?  Discuss these topics here or on the forum!

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