They are similar in size, resources and population, but the past few years have brought prosperity to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania and stagnation to Delaware County, New York.
The big difference? Fracking is allowed in one county and banned in the other.
Residents in Susquehanna County, where fracking for natural gas is allowed, are enjoying a robust economy while Delaware County—just across state lines—is suffering, according to the online newsletter Natural Gas NOW. On the Pennsylvania side, local companies like Diaz Manufacturing and Andre & Son are expanding. Meanwhile, New York's ban on natural gas drilling, “has condemned Upstate New Yorkers to the ‘pastoral poverty’ so typical of the region north of Orange County and west of the Hudson.”
Referencing sources such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis, the newsletter paints a sharp contrast between otherwise similar communities.
- Bank deposits:
- Susquehanna saw a 38% increase between 2008-2015
- Delaware increased by 19% in the same time period
- Income from dividends, interest and rents:
- Susquehanna saw a 44% increase between 2008-2014
- Delaware increased by 22% in the same time period. (The newsletter notes that this figure is heavily influenced by royalty payments from gas wells.)
- Wages and salaries:
- Susquehanna saw a 47% increase between 2008-2014
- Delaware increased by 4% in the same time period
- Average wages and salaries:
- Susquehanna saw a 41% increase between 2008-2014
- Delaware increased by 14% in the same time period
The evidence should give pause to policymakers who take Pennsylvania’s gas resources for granted or who seek to exploit them with burdensome taxes and regulations.