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Located in Ithaca, NY, Cornell University is a private institution that was founded in 1865. Today, it consists of 14 different schools that operate under the umbrella of the university. Cornell ranks 15 on the list of best national universities, 16 on the lis... more.
Teaching Assistant and Researcher
Socioeconomic Impact Analyst
Sublette Community Partnership
Milwaukee Free Press
Sweetwater Economic Development Association
Ph. D. candidate
Department of Natural Resources
Marcellus Shale: Community and Economic Considerations, presented by Jeffrey Jacquet, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University (May 2010)
However, long-term plans for water, land use and other kinds of development take time, money and consultants that most small towns can't afford, said Jeffrey Jacquet, a Cornell University sociologist who has spent more than eight years studying the impacts of natural gas drilling on small communities from Wyoming to Pennsylvania.
Jacquet said Three Rivers mirrors other shale play towns where new sales tax income isn't nearly enough to pay for the huge utility and road upgrades that would solve many of the problems. "For these smaller towns where not much has been going on in terms of big, dramatic changes, this can be a once-in-a-generation event," said Jacquet, the sociologist. Long-standing community members may lose influence over local events and politics as wealthy newcomers arrive on the scene, he said. Crime will increase with the population and, guilty or not, the outsiders will get the blame, Jacquet said. This dilemma - hedging against a day when the boom goes bust, hotel rooms empty, jobs disappear, people move away - is common across all boomtowns, Jacquet said.
Jeffrey Jacquet of Cornell's Department of Natural Resources said gas development firms prefer hiring workers they have used elsewhere and that the workers (imported or local), work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for two weeks without a break.
Thousands of workers working 84 hours a week for two weeks without a break?
Second speaker Jeffrey Jacquet, a member of Cornell Cooperative Extension's Marcellus Shale Team, brought a sociologist's perspective to the forum.
After all, he is one with Cornell University's Department of Natural Resources in Ithaca and has conducted research, recommended strategies and consulted on natural gas drilling in both the East and the West. His take on drilling's impacts? "The bottom line: results will vary, and impacts can and will be a mixed bag," Jacquet said. He discounted both doomsday scenarios and giddy predictions of financial booms, though he saw more negatives than positives. Jacquet noted that rising property values due to drilling would benefit landlords and property owners looking to sell land, while renters and those looking to stay on their property would face increased rents and taxes. And a lot of this would happen in a very short period of time, in the first years of drilling's arrival. "That's the challenge," he said. "... You need to accommodate all this growth at the beginning." That growth includes new businesses, new people, new money, new land uses, all of which can help a community but also cause new tensions, new crime, new traffic. Jacquet contended that conventional gas drilling is not an accurate comparison to drilling involving hydraulic fracturing. "It's high school football compared to the NFL," he told the audience. "Same rules, same game, but on a completely different scale." As for the impacts on tourism and agriculture – the top industries in Sullivan County – he only was willing to say there will be stress when drilling supplants them as the "top dog." "I don't think anyone really knows what the impacts are going to be" on farming and tourism, he remarked. "There's also the scenario where he [a farmer] gets a royalty [from drilling] and stops farming altogether," Jacquet mused. He warned of social disruption, of the need for more emergency workers and facilities, of heavy truck traffic. On the other hand, he acknowledged starting salaries will likely jump (i.e., a McDonald's in northern Pennsylvania now starts unskilled workers at $15 an hour), and he disagreed with Barth's contention that banks may become reluctant to do mortgages in gas-leased areas. Regardless, he urged listeners to ensure their communities are prepared not just for the boom but the bust portion of the business cycle.
It is entitled Natural Gas Development: Views of New York and Pennsylvania Residents in the Marcellus Shale Region, by Richard Stedman (Cornell University), Fern Willits (Penn State), Kathryn Brasier (Penn State), Matthew Filteau (Penn State), Diane McLaughlin (Penn State), and Jeffrey Jacquet (Cornell University).