LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP
To the Editor:
A recent column in your newspaper listed the benefits of fracking to Pennsylvanians – where, evidently, all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average, implying that the same could be true in New York if we just got to fracking the place.
Catch is, as some Cooperstonians proved years ago, there’s probably not much around here worth fracking. A recent Penn State study backs up our findings.
Retired Mobil executive Lou Allstadt, geologist Brian Brock, systems analyst Jerry Acton and myself, a well-known-know-it-all, made presentations showing why the productive shale gas field in Pennsylvania was unlikely to extend into New York State.
Each of us offered a proof. Lou pointed out why the major companies had not leased into New York. I pointed out that most of the leasing was by wildcat speculators. Brian Brock explained why the geology was not conducive to commercial exploitation of the Marcellus or Utica shales.
And Jerry Acton mapped the productivity of the shale wells being drilled in Pennsylvania – which is what the Penn State methodology duplicated via plagiarism.
As shown in Mr. Acton’s work, the sweet spot is indeed right across the border, but the productivity of the wells decreases rapidly as you move north towards the Susquehanna – and falls off a cliff as you move towards the Catskills, for reasons that Brian Brock could explain.
Evidently none of our findings came as surprise in Albany. Not long after we presented our findings, Governor Cuomo put a ban on high-volume high-pressure water fracking because, by then, they knew there was not much here worth fracking.
There was no significant penalty in prohibiting an activity that had little economic upside in New York – where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.