Pennsylvanians have a much more favorable view of shale gas development compared to their counterparts in New York, according to a new public opinion survey.
The two states have taken vastly different approaches to the boom in Marcellus Shale drilling. The formation lies under large swaths of Pennsylvania and stretches into southern New York. While Pennsylvania welcomed the industry, New York has had a moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing since 2008.
The survey looked at how citizens in each state view the gas boom. It was a joint effort by Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion, the University of Michigan, and the University of Montreal. The three schools provided all of the funding. Researchers conducted telephone surveys via land-lines and cell phones in the spring of 2014.
Most Pennsylvanians (54 percent) support the development of shale gas, while only 29 percent of New Yorkers are in favor of it.
A majority of respondents from both states (51 percent of New Yorkers and 55 percent of Pennsylvanians) believe experts are still divided on the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing.
“New York residents are nearly three times more likely than their counterparts in Pennsylvania to give the risks to Americans’ health, safety and the environment from fracking the highest, most serious rating of 10 on a scale of 0 to 10,” said Muhlenberg’s Institute of Public Opinion director, Christopher Borick in a statement.
Respondents gave the leaders of both states low marks for their handling of the gas boom. However, Governor Corbett got substantially lower ratings than his New York counterpart, Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat. Only 19 percent of respondents gave Corbett a positive rating for how he’s handled gas development, compared to 47 percent negative. Cuomo got a positive rating from 27 percent of respondents, with 36 percent having a negative view.
A solid majority of Pennsylvanians (62 percent) believe the state should enact a severance tax on gas production. In a separate question, a majority of Pennsylvanians (57 percent) say they do not believe imposing additional taxes on drillers will cause them to leave.