A recent Associated Press article highlights the differences between New York and Pennsylvania concerning natural-gas production via hydraulic fracturing. New York has a moratorium on fracking, Pennsylvania allows it.
The result, farmers and landowners in Pennsylvania are benefitting from fracking, while farmers and landowners just across the border look on with envy.
When Dan Fitzsimmons looks across the Susquehanna River and sees the flares of Pennsylvania gas wells, he thinks bitterly of the riches beneath his own land locked up by the heated debate that has kept hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, out of New York.
“I go over the border and see people planting orchards, buying tractors, putting money back in their land,” said Fitzsimmons, a Binghamton landowner who heads the 70,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York. “We’d like to do that too, but instead we struggle to pay the taxes and to hang onto our farms.’”
Indeed, the 30,000-member New York Farm Bureau supports natural-gas development.
Not everyone in Pennsylvania is enamored with fracking. While the process itself has not proven harmful, some farmers have complained that some drilling companies have been careless in their operations by not properly storing or isolating wastewater from livestock. In addition, contractors have destroyed valuable timber when building access roads.
New York landowners, however, are well aware of these potential problems and they are not relying (primarily) on government to protect their interests or property from harm. Rather they propose building extensive protections into their leases.