Compare and Contrast

Over the past several weeks there has been a great deal of media attention in North Texas on the efforts of extreme activists to stop energy production in our area. Thankfully, this rancor has not slowed down those who are committed to safely and responsibly developing our energy resources. 
 
They may not always get media attention for showing up and doing their important work each day, but those who work in the Barnett Shale are fueling our local, state, and national economy. While the media is off chasing the latest controversy, they are missing the steady stream of positive economic data that demonstrates the power of the shale gas revolution.

SMU Maguire Energy Institute Director Bernard Weinstein recently contrasted the economic success of states, like Texas, to the struggles of states, like New York, that have allowed anti-energy groups to effectively grind energy production to a halt within their borders. Weinstein explained that “in those states that have chosen to pursue energy development, output and jobs have grown faster than in most other states, while their unemployment rates are well below the US average of 6.1%.”
 
He stated that Texas “has the lowest unemployment rate, 5.1%, of any large state”, while “New York (despite sitting atop the Marcellus shale) has imposed a ban on hydraulic fracturing” causing energy producers to move elsewhere. This has resulted in a state unemployment rate of “6.7%, with some upstate counties as high as 7.5%” according to Weinstein.
 
Weinstein added that “Texas led the US in job creation during 2013, adding 323,000 workers to payrolls” and “another 225,000 jobs have been created” by June 2014 and “Texas has accounted for almost 35% of the nation’s job growth since 2000.” Weinstein credits this surge in economic growth to the “shale revolution” and observes that “Texas now accounts for more than 25% of the nation’s oil and gas and would rank as the world’s 14th largest producer if it was a separate country.”
 
Notably, he takes issue with the notion that this economic growth has somehow wrecked the environment in Texas. “Contrary to assertions by some environmental activists, Texas is not a toxic wasteland. We care greatly about the quality of our air, water, and land. But we make sure our regulatory environment is predictable and effective so that the costs of compliance aren’t burdensome to the point of discouraging new investment.”

We are blessed to live in a state with plentiful natural resources, but we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to maintain a business and regulatory climate that allows these energy resources to be produced in a safe and responsible way. Just look at a state like New York to see the harm of allowing extremists to hijack the public debate over our energy future! 

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