Marcellus Shale's Impact on Economy and Human Services

Issue Spotlight: Case Studies Look at Shale Drilling’s Mixed Legacy

Natural gas drilling has transformed two Pennsylvania counties with the greatest development activities, for better and for worse. While there were new jobs and businesses, there was also more crime, increased costs for emergency services and road maintenance, and a shortage of affordable housing. In one of the two counties, the benefits proved to be temporary, as drilling activity subsided.

The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative set out to document the local impacts of shale gas drilling in Greene and Tioga counties, as well as in Carroll County, Ohio, and Wetzel County, West Virginia.

Learn More: Read a Press Release on the Pennsylvania Case Studies

Learn More: Read a Summary of All Four Shale Case Studies

Learn More: Marcellus Shale Tax Policy

Browse PA Economy Publications Below

A response to some of the most frequent criticisms of intituting a severance tax in Pennsylvania. 

Natural gas drillers pay between 7-37% less in corporate net income taxes than they did at the beginning of the boom (2011-12) despite a quadrupling of the amount of gas drilled in PA.

Updated 6/5/18 by PBPC Policy Analyst Diana Polson.

As work on the 2017-18 budget continues, a bipartisan group of state legislators have become more vocal in their support of a severance tax on natural gas drillers. In response, the Marcellus Shale Coalition is putting on the full-court press.

In its recent letter to Speaker Mike Turzai, the Marcellus Shale Coalition points, in paragraph three, to the effective tax rate (ETR) on production as a key indicator of whether Pennsylvania should enact a severance tax in addition to the per-well impact fee we already have.

How does hydro-fracking affect the rural communities at the epicenter of drilling activity? A rich body of literature on the human impacts and lore exists from the Mountain West: of boomtowns and bar fights, and rising rents and rising crime that accompanied oil and gas development in Wyoming and Colorado in the 1980s and 1990s, and more recently in North Dakota shale oil fields.

Considerable evidence indicates that shale development has followed a similar trajectory in Pennsylvania. Work from academic researchers and advocacy groups such as Food and Water Watch, and our own indepth examination of two high-intensity Pennsylvania drilling counties (Greene and Tioga) document increased traffic, damaged roads, rising rents, and intensified demands on police and local first responders.

March 25, 2014

The replacement of Pennsylvania natural gas impact fee with a 5% severance tax is unlikely to deter firms from drilling new wells in the state, and it will certainly not inhibit the continued operation of existing wells.

January 10, 2014

Drilling in the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations has produced far fewer new jobs than the industry and its supporters claim, according to a six-state study released in November 2013 by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative. This webinar laid out the facts on shale drilling's impact on job creation.

November 21, 2013

A review of statements by representatives of shale drilling firms and their allies makes the motivation for this exaggeration clear — to preclude, or at least to minimize, taxation, regulation, and even careful examination of shale drilling.

April 17, 2013

These bills ask senior citizens in York and working families in Pottstown to subsidize Chevron, Hess and Royal Dutch Shell.

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