Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania is leaving nearby Delaware County, New York behind economically thanks to natural gas development impossible in New York.
Earlier this month, I did a post on the contributions of natural gas development to fighting poverty. It brought a protest from serial protester and malcontent Vera Scroggins who, as usual, made an evidence deprived assertion Susquehanna County had “more food banks” since gas had arrived. One of our other readers encouraged me to check the data and, so I did. Vera will not be happy.
There are no statistics to verify Vera’s claim but there is hard-core evidence of the economic impact of natural gas development on Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. The easiest way to assess those impacts is to compare Susquehanna County with a similar sized county in New York, where fracking has been banned. Delaware County, New York is separated from Susquehanna County by a mere four miles in vicinity of Deposit, a location most geologists think could be a sweet spot for natural gas development.
XTO Energy, in fact, paid as much as $6,500 per acre to lease acreage there but that was too close for comfort for the NRDC gang, so they conspired with Andrew Cuomo in full daylight to kill the industry. They desperately needed to avoid further raising of land prices on wilderness they hoped to create around themselves. They put their man Joe Martens temporarily in place at DEC to do the dirty deed and he did it. Delaware County was thrown to the wind as Susquehanna natural gas development moved ahead.
The result is that, according to Census data, the median earnings of workers, which slightly favored Delaware County in 2010 (by 1.3%) now favor Susquehanna County by a full 14.0%. Delaware County earnings grew but 1.5%, as Susquehanna county put 17.2% more in their pockets. This happened over a mere seven years.
This, of course, translated into higher household incomes in Susquehanna County, as the following chart demonstrates:
Susquehanna County average incomes were only 0.8% higher than Delaware County’s in 2010 but were 9.6% higher in 2016 — a $5,554 difference. That’s real money delivered by natural gas development, Susquehanna County having gained at more than twice the rate as Delaware County.
But, what about poorer households. Well, we don’t know how many people rely upon food banks, but we do know how many households received Food Stamp/SNAP benefits:
Yes, the number of such recipients in Susquehanna County has been declining since 2012 and, overall, well below (less than a third) the 45.1% rate of increase at the national level due to liberalization of benefit rules. Meanwhile, Delaware County numbers exploded by 87.2%. This is what Cuomo carnage looks like in the real world; what Corruptocrat hath wrought. Sorry, Vera, you lose.
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