Energy

Survey: Fracking Is Popular When Locals See The Economic Benefits

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and natural gas is most popular when locals see the economic benefits, according to a survey by Indiana University published Tuesday.

The survey found fracking was most popular in the parts of Pennsylvania where companies paid more than $400 million in “impact fees” to local governments. The public has “greater trust that the revenues will be spent by their municipal government in ways that benefit the local economy,” Naveed Paydar, the survey’s co-author, said in the study’s press release.

The survey questioned 453 Pennsylvania residents through an online survey conducted in June, 2014, and was published by peer-reviewed journal Energy Research & Social Science.

Fracking can offer enormous economic benefits to local economies. The government of Weld County, Colo., which adopted fracking earlier on, gets $122.4 million in extra tax revenue from the process, according to a study by Duke University. Fracking in the U.S. supported more than 2.1 million jobs in 2012 and is projected to support 3.9 million jobs by 2025, according to a study by the data analysis firm IHS. The study also found fracking created $284 billion in annual economic activity in 2012 and is projected to create $533 billion by 2025, increasing government tax revenue by an estimated $1.6 trillion.

Falling energy prices caused by fracking have saved the average American household $747.30 each year since 2008, according to a report published earlier this month by the Energy Information Administration.

When the price of energy decreases, the cost of goods and services produced decline as well. Any product transported to market via truck or car uses gasoline and virtually every service uses electricity. Thus, low energy prices effectively reduce the price of almost everything. This is especially great news for the poor, who tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on energy.

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