Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brain Drain Boondoggles: Utica Shale and Youngstown

Developing the gas and oil locked up in shale makes a lot of sense. I think we can extract these resources without destroying the environment. The economic development upside is tremendous. Then why do politicians and other industry boosters have such hard time making the case for drilling? In Youngstown:

“Shale gas could really turn our economy around and produce jobs in the future,” Charles Sammarone, the mayor of Youngstown, says.

The city council recently approved an ordinance to allow the lease of the mineral rights of 180 acres of city-owned land. The potential revenue, the mayor hopes, could fund the demolition of abandoned houses and buildings and give Youngstown a facelift. A 2010 survey by the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative showed that there are 3,246 vacant structures within the city limits, or about 44.8 structures per 1,000 residents, a figure 20 times the national average.

At the same time, unemployment has been kept relatively low at 7.9 percent, the national average, but only because so many people have been leaving the area. “We want to clean up our neighborhoods, so we can keep people from moving out,” Sammarone says.

Emphasis added. Okay, I buy the revenue windfall benefit. The mayor should stop there. Those concerned about drilling aren't de facto pro-brain drain. Boondoggle.

I doubt the mayor understands the issue. That's the reason he played the brain drain card. He doesn't know why drilling should be allowed. Fracking will stop our children from leaving. The Utica Shale solves everything.

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