Is Fracking A Solution To The Jobs Crisis? Separating Facts From Spin

Fracking, Jobs

The 20th century is often referred to as the "American Century" as it was during that time when the U.S. emerged as an economic and political superpower. But a decade into the 21st century, with the country mired in a jobs crisis alongside its eternal struggle to find new sources of energy, some companies in that sector, with the help of business-friendly research groups, are arguing that the practice of fracking would give the U.S. economy a much-needed boost.

According to Moody's Analytics (via USA Today), the exploration of natural gas deposits embedded in shale, along with oil drilling, is responsible for roughly 1 million of the 2.7 million new jobs that have been created since 2002. And much of that employment can be chalked up the discovery of 1.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Appalachian Basin, in an area known as the Marcellus Shale. But fracking -- a process formally known as hydraulic fracturing in which fluids are injected into the ground at high pressures to enable the extraction of natural gas -- also is linked with environmental hazards. And critics also contend that shale supporters are overstating their projections of the number of jobs created by fracking.

So the question is: how many jobs would fracking really create, and is it worth the potential damage to the environment?

This week, AOL Jobs takes a look at the debate, the impact on the jobs market, and where the presidential candidates stand.


More: Top 10 Jobs Of The 21st Century


What Kind Of Jobs Does Fracking Create?

To start with, shale exploration has created some six-figure jobs in the energy industry. According to Bright Labs, a San Francisco-based jobs tips site, this year alone the shale boom helped create 33,000 new U.S. jobs this year, with an average annual salary of $150,000.

Jobs are created outside the energy sector, too. In fact, three quarters of employment growth from the shale boom has taken place outside energy companies -- with suppliers and service companies that assist energy industries, including truckers for freight companies. The boom is even helping to create opportunities for white-collar professionals, like lawyers and bankers, who facilitate the opening of new businesses springing up around the boom.

On Hold -- Environmental Concerns, Debate Over Jobs Numbers

In spite of the new jobs, and the new source of energy, the process that makes it all possible -- fracking -- has come in for heavy criticism from environmentalists, who cite research suggesting that fracking contaminates drinking-water supplies and causes air pollution. The scale of the potential dangers of hydrofracking was displayed in the 2010 documentary, "Gasland."

The issue also is the subject of a controversial new feature film, "Promised Land," starring Matt Damon. That movie has come under fire for receiving financial backing from Abu Dhabi Media, whose owner, the United Arab Emirates, has an obvious agenda in keeping America as a client for petroleum, according to its critics.

New York is joined by New Jersey as the only two states with a temporary ban on fracking, according to AOL Energy. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at the end of September that his state would conduct a new review of the drilling process and the related environmental issues in the state. Results from the much anticipated review are expected within the year.

Some environmentalists, some of whom are also economists, argue that other, cleaner energy sources are more effective at creating jobs, and at lower cost.

And The Candidates...

Exploration in the energy sector and its impact on the labor market has obviously forced both candidates to take a view on the subject. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has called for increased drilling off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas, among other sites, as a means to make the country energy independent by 2020. He also says states should have final say on regulating fracking. He says his plan will create 3 million new jobs, according to CNN Money.

For his part, President Barack Obama has moved to tighten regulations on fracking, requiring the disclosure of which chemicals are used in the process, among other measures announced in May. The rules on fracking, which will be enforced by the Interior Department, also include mandates for energy companies to have a management plan for water used in processing, as well as for a heightened scrutiny of wells. In his first term, Obama has displayed a willingness to sign off on energy projects, despite the notorious BP oil spill in 2010. He has given the OK for exploration of areas in the Gulf of Mexico, for instance.

With so much at stake, the issues surrounding fracking will surely extend beyond November. Or as American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard told AOL Energy in a recent interview, "We're only in the early stages of a very robust debate on energy issues."

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Shale Gas: Game Changer?




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gommygoomy

If Fracking in just a few States has Created a Jobs Boom in these States?

What would Opening up EVERYWHERE to Drilling, do for the Jobs Numbers?

This isn't Quantum Physics, people.

October 03 2012 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gommygoomy's comment
AnnYes

I would love to know what the racial breakdown of the hires are. I don't believe that I would be surprised by the answer, but it is a good question that should be examined by the rest of the country.

To answer your question: It would be an ecological disaster waiting to happen. There has been reported earthquakes in places there hasn't ever been, that no person alive has experienced. We are playing with the unknown and Mother Nature doesn't like surprises or fancy moves.

February 27 2013 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brotherkenny4

The jobs counted by the feds with regard to the recovery act only include direct jobs, not jobs created at suppliers or as secondary jobs. The Dems must really be dumb if they can't fuzz up some fake numbers like the gas industry has. "Oh yes, I believe there are 12 secondary jobs created for every job on the drilling rigs".

Of course, maybe even more pathetic than the Dems are the folks who hear those PR numbers and buy them hook line and sinker. "Oh but why would the fracking industry lie to us about the number of jobs they create, that just doesn't make sense " said the moron with TV brain syndrome.

October 03 2012 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe

Selling unemployed people into slavery would create jobs. Cutting down every tree in America would create jobs. Declaring war on Canada would create jobs. Creating jobs is easy. Creating jobs that don't have massive negative consequences is the tricky part.

It has become a "hacktic" (my term, a tactic used by political hacks) to justify any money-making scheme, no matter how destructive, by insisting it creates jobs. Instead of using jobs as an excuse for whatever havoc we wish to wreak, we need to concentrate on building a more robust economy, where consumer demand creates jobs.

October 03 2012 at 9:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Joe's comment
posthuf

Joe, you're too sharp and make too much sense to be posting on these boards.

October 03 2012 at 10:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
AnnYes

Funnily enough republicans would do all you suggested, because they don't have any ideas of their own. They're a bunch of money making fROM money people, that to work building something tangible escapses them. Yet, in these heavily republican areas, creating these jobs from infrastructure money they're still an angry bunch with President Obama being their standard bearer.

February 27 2013 at 6:25 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
burniedown

I see a comment or two about the drilling going on far below the water table....true. But what the commentor is not understanding is this: Once the drilling stops....they pressurize the bore to such high measurements to do the actual fracking for days on end.....and even afterwards to remove the gas, during this high pressure and afterwards, the poisonous fluids can and WILL easily be pushed up into YOUR water tables.....proven up to NINE miles from wells. Now remember this people......this is not the ONE AND ONLY TIME they will frac this well....they restimulate wells on an as needed basis...up to ten times.
Once the well is drilled....it ain't over. They will come back to drill the other five or more wells on that pad. How many millions of gallons of this crap will now be near your water tables for your kids to enjoy in that glass of Kool-Aid? Did you also know that when a lease is signed....they can use the remaing equity value of YOUR property to fund other drilling activities, after all you DID lease it completely and fully. Not to forget that other people in your area may not be able to secure a mortgage due to the leases there.....it has been proven many times.
Lastly......when the "landman" comes to hook you into signing the lease, he tells you that they will "monitor your water". The statement even if given in writing, means this....they WILL test your water from time to time during drilling ( if they feel like it ) and if your water becomes contaminated, they will tell you it is contaminated. That's it. They have now lived up to their end of the deal called "monitoring your water". NO...... they will NOT stop drilling.....you signed a lease allowing it remember? Now you go to your bank to put a lein on your land to hire a lawyer to fight them and find that they have already exhausted the equity and YOU cannot use it. Is it fun yet ? These greedy monster NOW want eminent domain rights so that they can drill your land even if YOU DON'T WANT IT ! Drill Baby Drill? Yes they are drilling YOUR babies.

October 02 2012 at 10:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to burniedown's comment
AnnYes

No. They are not the greedy monsters, the person that signed the contract is the greedy monster that sold his own family out.

February 27 2013 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
burniedown

I see a comment or two about the drilling going on far below the water table....true. But what the commentor is not understanding is this: Once the drilling stops....they pressurize the bore to such high measurements to do the actual fracking for days on end.....and even afterwards to remove the gas, during this high pressure and afterwards, the poisonous fluids can and WILL easily be pushed up into YOUR water tables.....proven up to NINE miles from wells. Now remember this people......this is not the ONE AND ONLY TIME they will frac this well....they restimulate wells on an as needed basis...up to ten times.
Once the well is drilled....it ain't over. They will come back to drill the other five or more wells on that pad. How many millions of gallons of this crap will now be near your water tables for your kids to enjoy in that glass of Kool-Aid? Did you also know that when a lease is signed....they can use the remaing equity value of YOUR property to fund other drilling activities, after all you DID lease it completely and fully. Not to forget that other people in your area may not be able to secure a mortgage due to the leases there.....it has been proven many times.
Lastly......when the "landman" comes to hook you into signing the lease, he tells you that they will "monitor your water". The statement even if given in writing, means this....they WILL test your water from time to time during drilling ( if they feel like it ) and if your water becomes contaminated, they will tell you it is contaminated. That's it. They have now lived up to their end of the deal called "monitoring your water". NO...... they will NOT stop drilling.....you signed a lease allowing it remember? Now you go to your bank to put a lein on your land to hire a lawyer to fight them and find that they have already exhausted the equity and YOU cannot use it. Is it fun yet ? These greedy monster NOW want eminent domain rights so that they can drill your land even if YOU DON'T WANT IT ! Drill Baby Drill? Yes they are drilling YOUR babies.

October 02 2012 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Purple Shell

Fracking is killing the planet. There needs to be other jobs. I would rather do without than have to get a job fracking. It poisons the water supply. Without clean water, we will be living like a lot of 3rd world people.

October 02 2012 at 10:05 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Purple Shell's comment
AnnYes

We're already on our way to becoming a 3rd world country and people thanks to our republican congress and the choices being made to enslave all people of all colors in the lower classes through state level legislation.

The republican base are cheering the efforts of state level legislators pushing through laws to disenfranchise the minorities, poor, seniors without realizing or thinking..."how are these laws going to effect me?" unlike the very wealthy, they must live within the laws; all laws. You push to take away the vote of the minority is the same as saying, "take my voting rights away, too."

February 27 2013 at 6:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
burniedown

I see a comment or two about the drilling going on far below the water table....true. But what the commentor is not understanding is this: Once the drilling stops....they pressurize the bore to such high measurements to do the actual fracking for days on end.....and even afterwards to remove the gas, during this high pressure and afterwards, the poisonous fluids can and WILL easily be pushed up into YOUR water tables.....proven up to NINE miles from wells. Now remember this people......this is not the ONE AND ONLY TIME they will frac this well....they restimulate wells on an as needed basis...up to ten times.
Once the well is drilled....it ain't over. They will come back to drill the other five or more wells on that pad. How many millions of gallons of this crap will now be near your water tables for your kids to enjoy in that glass of Kool-Aid? Did you also know that when a lease is signed....they can use the remaing equity value of YOUR property to fund other drilling activities, after all you DID lease it completely and fully. Not to forget that other people in your area may not be able to secure a mortgage due to the leases there.....it has been proven many times.
Lastly......when the "landman" comes to hook you into signing the lease, he tells you that they will "monitor your water". The statement even if given in writing, means this....they WILL test your water from time to time during drilling ( if they feel like it ) and if your water becomes contaminated, they will tell you it is contaminated. That's it. They have now lived up to their end of the deal called "monitoring your water". NO...... they will NOT stop drilling.....you signed a lease allowing it remember? Now you go to your bank to put a lein on your land to hire a lawyer to fight them and find that they have already exhausted the equity and YOU cannot use it. Is it fun yet ? These greedy monster NOW want eminent domain rights so that they can drill your land even if YOU DON'T WANT IT ! Drill Baby Drill? Yes they are drilling YOUR babies.

October 02 2012 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
padams7187

There have been earthquakes in places that have very little history of them. Fracking indangers our ground water, and we have to have clean water and clean air. If we are willing to forgo air and water nothing else matters. We need to make changes and use all of our technology while taking care of our country. When you go to vote take into consideration the party that wants to do things for America, or do things too America.

October 02 2012 at 8:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
teetse123

What ever happened to alternative energy. I think gas and energy prices would make it more feasable now. That would also create jobs. We need to stand up to oil companies and try new things.

October 02 2012 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joejoegolfn

To date there has been ZERO incidents of water contamination due to Fracking. Matt Damon is a liar. North Dakota has unemployment rate of 3.2 % and begging people to work. McDonalds pays 12$ an hour there. If we open up drilling in the US, there is no limit to the jobs that would be created, not to mention all the money, 500 billion we send overseas to people who want to kill us would stay here and go into our economy to grow even more jobs and help pay off this unsustainable debt we have. We have the best technology in the world, why not use it.

October 02 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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