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Study: Fracking Could Seriously Damage NY Tourism – Natural Gas

The impact of natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing could have a significant and debilitating impact on tourism in the southern part of New York state, according to a new study from a regional planning board there.

The study, done by the Cornell University doctoral candidate Andrew Rumbach at the behest of the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board (STC), whose jurisdiction includes Chemung, Steuben and Schuyler counties, examined the cumulative impact of drilling and specifically, hydraulic fracturing in both the short and long term.

The study found that, in the short term, the area might enjoy some immediate economic benefit but, in the long term, could experience a significant economic degradation in an area heavily dependent on tourism.

From the study:

Individual gas wells and drilling activity, while disruptive at a local scale, will likely have very little impact on the tourism sector. Cumulatively, however, the regional industrialization associated with widespreaddrilling could do substantial damage to the region’s “brand,” threatening the long-­‐term growth of tourism here. Increased truck traffic, automobile traffic, air pollution, noise pollution, and industrial accidents, decreased availability of hotel/motel rooms, campground spaces, and RV parking, negative visual impacts from multiple drilling rigs in rural view-­‐sheds, storage facilities, gravel pits, and compressor stations, disruptions to wildlife and hunting grounds, fears over lake and stream pollution and many other associated impacts of drilling will change the character of the region from pristine and rural to gritty and industrial. If so, the region’s ability to attract tourism may be damaged in the long-­‐term, as the perception (and reality) of the region as an industrial landscape may far outlast the employment and monetary benefits of gas drilling.

The study’s author supports this conclusion by comparing the effects natural gas drilling has had on Bradford County in Pennsylvania, where hydraulic fracturing has proceeded unabated for several years. The area, according to documents obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and cited in the study, is now home to more to nearly 1,300 wells, most of them permitted since January 2010.

From the study:

Despite similar natural and industry constraints, Pennsylvania is currently experiencing the effects of rapid and widespread drilling activity. The landscape has quickly shifted from rural and agricultural to industrial. In addition to these physical changes, Bradford County, PA officials are also struggling to cope with an increase in rents, 30% more emergency calls, rising traffic, and busier courts and jails dueto increased drilling activity, all without an increase in associated funding for services (Legere 2010).

The study, funded by a $7,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, was released on Wednesday, July 6.

Also see

Natural Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale: Potential Impacts on the Tourism Economy of the Southern Tier”


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