Constitutionally Right

The only way to predict the future is to create it.

Location: Yardley, PA (Bucks County), United States

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pennsylvania's Saudi Arabia - Philly Burbs

I had the good fortune of being able to speak with 16 state and federal candidates for office during the last set of elections as a community member of the Bucks County Courier Times’ Editorial Board. It was great to see so many so well informed on the important issues. It was almost like everyone was void of politics as the actual issues were being openly discussed. Then, of course, Election Day comes and goes, the winners get saddled with politics and, as usual, nothing meaningful ever gets done.
Energy was a popular topic especially with the state candidates. The natural gas reserves 5,000 feet below parts of the state (and then another massive reserve under that) are commonly referred to as “The Saudi Arabia of Pennsylvania”. Governor Corbett and Lt. Governor Cawley spoke at length with us about the reserves under the layers of Marcellus Shale.
I’m a big skeptic of any politician and am particularly mindful of those on my side (because I hold them to a much higher standard), but I found the two gentlemen authentic and genuine even though their hair was perfect and didn’t move at all no matter what. That’s a definite red flag, but they were good.
My personal concerns are both environmental and revenue-related. Real Conservatives, like myself and Politically Correct’s other contributor, are few and far between in politics, but our defining sentiment is in “conservation” which has the environment as a primary tenant. We’re true stewards of the land void of knee-jerk response through the distorted prism of politics.
Modern fracking, or the techniques used to drill through the shale to retrieve the gas reserves can be performed safely, securely and environmentally responsibly. The Governor’s plan ensures that wells are safe distances from water systems with state-of-the-art management and very strictly enforced guidelines.
Revenue issues are also critical and must be viewed through the clear prism of economics. My Economics degree doesn’t hurt, but simple honesty is even better. Some wish to impose hefty state taxes along with the usual local impact fees while others prefer more focus on the local impact fees. Additional taxes (above what are already levied) will only discourage investment here. Being more inviting will end up creating more opportunities for employment in Pennsylvania resulting in more people paying more in taxes.
The shortsightedness of some is stunning to the extreme. It’s like the typical boxing trainer who’d rather throw a good kid to the wolves for maybe $50 rather than properly develop him for the higher payday a little longer down the road. Plus, the impact fees paid to counties will be used by those actually impacted. These fees are estimated to generate $120 to $200 million per year for infrastructure, emergency management, health, utility and environmental protection use.
The bottom line is that we use a lot of energy which is not only not a bad thing, but is also not changing . We might as well get as much energy as we can at home where its harvest can be properly monitored without the potential for environmental disasters of transporting it from the other side of the world.
The career opportunities, demand for skills, positive impact on our academic institutions and influx of investment are exciting with little or no down side. This new frontier has generated over 72,000 new hires in Pennsylvania since 2007 and profoundly boosted local economies with positive ripple effects that go far.
I appreciate the cynics to Marcellus Shale, but I do strongly agree with the Governor’s plan which can be found at . I sense that the Governor’s interest in energy focuses more on our future than on the instant gratification of short-term politics, but it’s never a bad idea to keep your eyes open due to the extreme importance and to ensure that sensible plans stay that way.


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