After fighting anti-fracking forces in the state of New York for years, Chesapeake Energy has decided to walk away from its natural gas drilling leases and go elsewhere.
Since 2008, the state of New York has imposed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing–known more commonly as “fracking.” Groups like New Yorkers Against Fracking have kept the pressure on, hosting star-studded concert rallies featuring actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo, as well as Natalie Merchant, John Sebastian, Joan Osborne, and others.
The ban and anti-fracking advocacy, combined with a costly legal battle to renew natural gas drilling leases under their original, more favorable terms, prompted Chesapeake to give up its fight and leave New Yorkers out of jobs and without economic growth “while neighboring states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia experience an energy drilling renaissance,” says Reuters.
Kevin Colosimo, a trustee at large for the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, says citizens in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania are reaping big rewards from the natural gas boom.
“Almost a quarter-million people in Pennsylvania work to produce natural gas from the Marcellus Shale or in related industries… The average salary in core fracking industries is more than $90,000 a year,” writes Colosimo. “In 2010 alone, oil and gas development utilizing fracking contributed more than $11 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy.”
Experts say the earliest New York might lift its ban on fracking would be in 2014.