Oct31

From the Lone Star State to the Keystone State

posted by: TXGIR Staff

We’ve been thinking a lot about Pennsylvania lately, and it’s not because we’re closet Steelers fans. (Though we do love a good Philly cheese steak—a sandwich so tasty you’d almost think a Texan invented it.) We’ve got Pennsylvania on the brain because we’re big fans of natural gas, and lately that state has become ground zero for the whole to-frack-or-not-to-frack shale-gas debate. 

As this article in the New York Times points out, drilling companies (using fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies developed in Texas, we might add!) are bringing big changes to places like northeastern Pennsylvania, which sits on top of the Marcellus Shale formation. The biggest change is jobs, a whole lot of them—for hotel and restaurant owners, local equipment suppliers, truck-and-transport companies, and others. (To paraphrase a local businessman quoted in the article: It wasn’t the miners in the Gold Rush who got rich; it was the guys who sold the shovels.) But the drilling boom in northeastern PA is also making for crowded country roads, high prices for apartment rentals, and worries about water quality. 

Hey, we get it: It’s complicated. Texans have lived (quite prosperously, thank you) with Big Energy at our doorstep for more than a century. And the whole shale-gas revolution? It started right here. It’s a game-changer, for sure—especially when it comes to our politicians’ talking points about America’s energy future. But folks up there in Pennsylvania seem to be working it out—to the tune of thousands of new jobs, revived small towns, and less reliance on dirty coal—and they’re finding ways to avoid a boom-bust scenario and keep tabs on the potential impact of drilling. It’s really quite Texan of them, because in Texas we’ve always believed you can strike the right balance between conservation and development. That goes for the natural-gas revolution, too.

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