At Forum, Labor And Industry Secretary Says PA Is "Blessed" To Host Drillers


Correction: The corrected Department of Revenue figure referred to taxes land owners pay on drilling-related profits, not the amount of money energy companies pay in corporate taxes.
At a Capitol forum sponsored by the natural gas drilling industry, Pennsylvania’s Labor and Industry Secretary, Julia Hearthway, played the role of Marcellus Shale cheerleader.
Pointing to what she called a “tsunami” of job growth within the drilling industry, she said Pennsylvania is “blessed” to host drillers. Hearthway says she’s “completely focused” on growing drilling within the Marcellus Shale formation, which stretches from northeastern to southwestern Pennsylvania.
Hearthway’s information on jobs growth came from a monthly document the Department of Labor and Industry publishes,  called “Marcellus Shale Fast Facts.”
The agency puts out two other “fast facts” brochures each month. One looks at the statewide economic picture, the other focuses on specific workforce investment areas.
Marcellus Shale drilling is the only industry with its own report.
Sue Mukherjee has put the document together since December 2010. She says a monthly, Marcellus-specific update is “the right thing to do,” considering how quickly the natural gas drilling industry is growing in Pennsylvania, and how much attention it’s received.
It’s clear natural gas drilling is creating jobs in Pennsylvania – but fracking opponents remain skeptical of the state’s information. They point to a correction the Department of Revenue recently made, when it downscaled its estimate of the money land owners with lease agreements are paying  on royalties and bonuses. The numbers were cut in half, from more than $100 million, to less than $50.
Read this month’s “Fast Facts” report: