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.
take on drilling's impacts?
"The bottom line: results will vary, and impacts can and will be a mixed bag," Jacquet
discounted both doomsday scenarios and giddy predictions of financial booms, though he
saw more negatives than positives.
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
"... 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.
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
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
"There's also the scenario where he
[a farmer] gets a royalty [from drilling] and stops farming altogether," Jacquet
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.
urged listeners to ensure their communities are prepared not just for the boom but the bust portion of the business cycle.