A misleading picture
4. Kelsey implied that what happens in one community would happen in ours. But our valley is unique. For one, geologists believe our area is not rich in gas, a situation Kelsey acknowledged in a conversation after the presentation. After his talk, he also admitted that his estimate of $2 million earned per well is based on averaging productive and non-productive areas, not from actual productivity figures. I have yet to hear from him just how he came to that figure. If wells here have low productivity, lessors here would earn considerably less, and maybe not much at all.
Kelsey ignored the economic advantages we have by our close proximity to NYC. Not only do our second-home owners—who might leave if drilling arrives—supply us with a major portion of our property tax revenue, but we also have the opportunity to exploit the Eat Local & Eat Organic movements in NYC. He insisted that even though organic and other food producing operations could be harmed by drilling, that there was plenty of food produced in other places for us to eat. Because of global warming concerns, inevitably eating locally will be mandated, for shipping food vast distances creates huge greenhouse emissions. We have the potential to be major suppliers of this healthy local food.
About a week after the panel, Penn State released a new study, lead by Dr. Kelsey, that states that in 2009 Pennsylvania natural gas development created roughly half the jobs and economic activity reported in earlier, industry-financed studies, and that only about half of leased land is owned by primary residents.
[Alice Zinnes is a resident of Damascus, PA.]