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NGD and Tourism

NGD and Tourism

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Published by Edward Williams

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Published by: Edward Williams on Aug 04, 2012
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NaturalGasDrillingintheMarcellusShale:PotentialImpactsontheTourismEconomyoftheSouthernTier AndrewRumbach
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Introduction
TheMarcellusShaleisageologicformationthatliesunderlargeportionsofNewYork,Pennsylvania,andWestVirginia,andsmallerpartsofOhioandVirginia.ContainedwithintheShaleformationarereservesofnaturalgas,whichhaveonlyrecentlybecomerecoverableduetoaprocessknownashorizontaldrillingandhydraulicfracturing(“fracking”).Whileestimatesofthetotaluntappedgasreservesvarywidely,itisgenerallyagreedthattheyaresignificant-asmanyas500trillioncubicfeetofgasmightberecoveredfromtheformation,enoughnaturalgastomeetthedomesticneedsoftheUnitedStatesforover20years(Engelder2009).DrillingintheMarcellusShalehasquicklybecomethecenterofcontroversyinNewYork;proponentsarguethatgasdevelopmentcouldprovidemuch-neededjobs,taxrevenues,androyaltiesforland-owners,andwouldbealocalsourceforanaturalresourcethataccountsfor30%ofNewYork’spowerconsumption.Opponentsarguethatthefrackingprocessposesadangertothelocalandregionalenvironmentandthreatenstocontaminatethesurfaceandgroundwaterreservoirsthatsupplydrinkingwatertocitiesandcommunitiesacrossthestate.WhilemuchofthedebateovergasdrillingintheMarcellusShalefocusesonthepotentialenvironmentalimpacts,thereisalsoconcernthatgasextractionwillcreatea“boom-bust”economicdevelopmentpatternseeninmanyresourcerichregionsandcountries(e.g.Jacquet2009,Barth2010,Christopherson2011).ShalegasdrillinginstateslikeWyoming,Texas,andPennsylvaniahashadseriouseconomicconsequencesforadjacentindustrieslikeagricultureandtourism,becauseofthewidespreadindustrialactivitythataccompaniesdrilling.Thisreportcentersonthepotentialimpactsofgasdrillingonthetourismindustryinthethree-countyregionservedbytheSouthernTierCentralRegionalPlanningandDevelopmentBoard(STC).TourismisanimportantanddiversesectoroftheeconomyoftheSouthernTier,andunderstandingsomeofthepotentialimpactsofgasdrillingonthetourismindustryisimportantforbusinessowners,electedofficials,andplannersconcernedwitheconomicdevelopmentintheregion.Thispaperaddressesthreemajorquestions:1)WhatisthevalueofthetourismsectortotheeconomyoftheSTCregion?2)InwhatwaysmightgasdrillingintheMarcellusShaleimpactthetourismeconomy,nowandintothefuture?3)Ifgasdrillingcould
 
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PreparedfortheSouthernTierCentralRegionalPlanningandDevelopmentBoard,withsupportfromtheAppalachianRegionalCommission.AndrewRumbachisadoctoralcandidateintheDepartmentofCityandRegionalPlanningatCornellUniversity.
 
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potentiallyharmthetourismsector,whatpoliciesorstrategiesmighthelptomitigatethosenegativeimpacts?Thisreportisdividedintofoursections.AfterabriefintroductiontothegeographyoftheSTCregionandadescriptionoftheresearchmethodsused,thesizeandscopeofdrillingactivityintheregionisdiscussed.Next,aprofileofthetourismeconomyispresented,includingdataontheeconomicimpactoftourismandadiscussionofthenon-monetaryimportanceoftourismamenitiesforqualityoflifeintheregion.Third,manyofthepotentialimpactsofgasdrillingonthetourismeconomyarediscussed.Finally,somerecommendationsforpolicyandplanningareoffered.
TheSTCRegion
STCservesChemung,Schuyler,andSteubenCounties,intheSouthernTierregionofupstateNewYork.Theregionencompasses2,151squaremilesandhasbothurbanandruralcommunities.Itishometoseveralsmallcitiesandtowns,includingBath,Corning,Elmira,WatkinsGlen-MontourFalls,Hornell,andWayland,aswellasmorethan2,300farms(USDA2007).
Figure1:TheSTCregionSource:TheNewYorkStateGISClearinghouse.Mapcreatedbyauthoron4/14/2011
 
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DataandMethods
Thisreportisbasedoninformationanddataobtainedfromthefollowingsources:1.
 
Publishedreports,newsarticles,andstudiesrelatedtogasdrillingintheMarcellusShale2.
 
DatafromtheU.S.Census,theAmericanCommunitySurvey,CountyBusinessPatterns,andothersourcesforinformationrelevanttogasdrillingandtourism3.
 
GeospatialdatafromtheNewYorkStateGISClearinghouseaswellasagencysources4.
 
Interviewswithpublicofficials,gasdrillingexperts,organizations,advocacygroups,businessownersandoperators,andotherlocalstakeholders(seeAppendixA)Inaddition,thereporthasgreatlybenefitedfromongoingcollaborationwiththeMarcellusShaleresearchteamatCornellUniversity,ledbyDr.SusanChristophersonintheDepartmentofCityandRegionalPlanning.NewYorkhasissuedastatewidemoratoriumonpermitsforhydraulicfracturingthatlaststillatleastAugust2011,sodrillingactivityhasyettobegin.Muchoftheanalysisofthepotentialeconomic,environmental,andsocialimpactspresentedhereandelsewhereisthereforespeculative.InordertotryandunderstandwhatmayhappeninNewYorkshouldthemoratoriumbelifted,itisadvantageoustostudycasesfromotherstatesandcommunitiesthathaveseenwidespreadshaledrilling.ThisreportrefersoftentotheNorthernTierofPennsylvania,includingBradfordCounty,forseveralreasons.First,theNorthernTier,andPennsylvaniagenerally,hasseenwidespreadgasdrillingsince2007,onascalesimilartowhatwemightexpectinNewYork.Second,comparedtocasesinWyoming,Colorado,orTexas,northernPennsylvaniahasasimilartopographyandenvironmenttothatoftheSouthernTierofNewYork.Third,theNorthernTiereconomyhasimportantagricultureandtourismsectors,similartotheSTCregion.Oneimportantdifferencebetweenthetworegions,however,isthattheSouthernTierhasseveralsmallcities,whereasBradfordCountydoesnot.TheSouthernTier’surbanassetsmayhelpshapetheoutcomesofgasdrillingdifferentlythanwhatisseeninnorthernPennsylvania.
SizeandScopeofDrillingActivities
ThoughitisimpossibletopredictexactlyhowmanygaswellswillbedrilledintheSouthernTier,givenitslocationinthegreaterMarcellusformation,itisreasonable

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