In a recent article interview with Philip Knoll of Corridor Resources in the Times & Transcript (Friday, July 6, 2012), Mr. Knoll bemoaned the narrow focus of the shale gas debate on ground water contamination. It’s a shame Mr. Knoll chose not to attend the public consultations held recently in rural NB; if he had, he would have heard numerous citizens address the very issues he wishes were discussed, namely job creation and revenue generation.
Mr. Knoll refers in his interview to a recent study touting impressive job creation and GDP growth in the US for the shale gas industry. Numerous such studies have been commissioned by the oil and gas organizations like the Natural Gas Alliance. In every case, independent third parties have in turn examined these studies and invariably determined they lack rigor, fail to examine highly relevant confounding issues, and overestimate upside growth to such a degree as to render them unreliable at best. Please look up papers and talks by the likes of Dr. Jeannette Barth and Dr. Deborah Rogers if you wish to see for yourself.
The facts in this matter are simple, and even Tom Murphy from the Marcellus Centre who spoke here recently doesn’t deny them: the shale gas industry is plagued by boom-bust cycles, and when industry moves on from an area, that area is worse off after than before the drillers came. And the environmental and health damages remain as well. Most of the jobs are imported from other jurisdictions, and the jobs are transient (the workers don’t remain permanently). This resource extraction is simply not the economic cure-all the pro-shalers would like us to believe, and in the meantime our children and grandchildren will not thank us for leaving them with this mess to clean up.