Wells Fargo Study: 60% of New PA Jobs from Gas Drilling

jobsWells Fargo Securities economists recently issued a report on the effects of Marcellus Shale drilling on Pennsylvania jobs (a copy of the 12-page report is embedded below). The report offers both an optimistic and pessimistic forecast of job growth, along with what they believe to be a realistic forecast. And all of their numbers are backed up with plenty of commentary so the reader understands why they predict what they predict. The bottom line?

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Shell’s ‘Silent’ Partner in Building Cracker Plant: The EPA

Shell will decide whether or not to build an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA over the next two years (see this MDN story). If they decide to build, which seems likely, it will take between four and 10 years and $3 billion to build it. It’s a massive project. And Shell will have the federal Environmental Protection Agency looking over their shoulder the whole time, according to an EPA rep from Texas:

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NY Anti-Fracking Groups Join Forces

Sensing that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be close to moving forward with issuing permits for shale gas drilling, anti-drilling groups are joining forces in New York State to form a coalition called New Yorkers Against Fracking. Movie star Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner (the Hulk) in the upcoming movie The Avengers, is on board with the effort. (Those who support drilling may want to consider bypassing The Avengers to send a message to Mr. Ruffalo and Hollywood.)

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Maryland House Votes to Tax Non-Existent Shale Drilling

From the “things that amuse us from Maryland” file: The Maryland House of Delegates passed a vote on a severance tax on shale gas drilling in the state. They generously reduced the original proposal from a 15 percent tax down to 7.5 percent. Thing is, there is no shale gas drilling in the state and there won’t be until 2014 at the earliest when a report commissioned by Gov. Martin O’Malley is due. And it’s a big “if” as to whether or not Maryland will ever allow drilling. The House seems awfully eager to tax something they haven’t even decided they will allow.

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Federal Judge Upholds Water Ban in Allegheny National Forest

In a lawsuit to allow active drilling in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in Pennsylvania, a federal judge ruled last Friday that the U.S. Forest Service does not have to end a ban they imposed on drillers who want to use surface water from the ANF for hydraulic fracturing. Drillers have argued that the Forest Service’s actions in banning water withdrawals from the ANF, and in delaying signoff on new drilling permits, have in essence stopped drilling in the ANF—a de facto ban. For a background on the long-running dispute, see this MDN story from last November.

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